I’m at a loss for words today. For the better part of the last few years, I’ve worked tirelessly to bring awareness to violence against women. In that quest, I’ve met and worked with many wonderful individuals from all walks of life. In many cases, various friends from my childhood would reach out as I was traveling across the country with “Highway of Tears”. One of them, was my dear friend, Kristin Johnson. Kristin, represented happiness. She was a ray of light. While we lost touch for a number of years, I reached out to Kristin as I was planning on screening in Halifax, but couldn’t really seem to get things organized in time.
To my surprise, Kristin was following the project and was eager to help in any way she could.
She did more than that.
Within a very short time frame, Kristin managed to pull the community together to get a space donated for a charity screening to benefit the Loretta Saunders Scholarship Fund. Having started her own business, an amazing yoga studio, Kristen was very much involved in the community.
While I wasn’t expecting much, Kristin continued to give and to push for our screenings to be successful. She also linked our production with a local business, Scout + Burrow, who in turn, managed to raise a few thousand dollars for Loretta’s Scholarship Fund.
She didn’t stop there. She reached out to everyone in town and found me a place to stay. Even with her busy schedule, she found the time to plaster the city with posters. Kristin had a heart of gold.
Her help to raise awareness for missing and murdered women didn’t stop there. We continued to talk and she expressed an interest in being at our screening in Tofino, as she was going to visit her sister, brother-in-law and her little niece, Hannah. Kristin moved around her travel schedule by a day or so in order to be present and lend her support.
Again, her heart opened up. She reached out to her sister and her brother-in-law Cameron, in order to let them know I’d be in town screening the film. They all helped as much as possible because they cared. When I had the honor of being a guest on Cameron’s radio show, he expressed a lot of passion for what I was doing. Off the record, he shared his thoughts on the issue of missing and murdered women. As a ‘new’ father, he said the project really marked him. I’ll never forget that conversation.
All this to say, I’m utterly devastated by the news of Kristin’s tragic death. While I don’t yet have the details, I did learn that it was a crime. A domestic crime. My heart today is shattered. I feel like there’s a lot more work to do in order to bring more awareness to violence. I took a break from speaking engagements for several months, as I focused on finding other projects to work on. This tragedy strikes me at my very core.
In Kristin’s honor (and the thousands of missing and murdered women across Canada), I will continue to push for awareness. This violence must stop. As a start, I’m making “highway of Tears” available for free to rent through the weekend. Please make a donation to a charity of your choice in memory of Kristin. Or just reach out to a loved one and tell them how much they mean to you.
LINK TO FILM
I also invite you to read Nathaniel Basen’s post about Kristin. It brought me to tears. His eloquent words very much encapsulate her spirit.
With this, I leave you with a photo of Kristin, her beloved niece and sister that I took in Tofino (British Columbia) at our anti-violence rally. Kristin is on the left holding her niece.
You will be forever in my heart, Kristin. And dearly missed.