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Feb 14th Annual Womens Memorial March
Their Spirits Live Within Us
Photo of previous march (Moira Simpson)
26th Annual Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March
Vancouver, Sunday Feb 14th, 2016
March starts at noon from Carnegie (Main and Hastings)
FB RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/567879256695101/
The first women’s memorial march was held in 1991 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman on Powell Street in Vancouver. Her name is not spoken today out of respect for the wishes of her family. Out of this sense of hopelessness and anger came an annual march on Valentine’s Day to express compassion, community, and caring for all women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Unceded Coast Salish Territories.
Twenty six years later, the women’s memorial march continues to honour the lives of missing and murdered women and all women’s lives lost in the Downtown Eastside. Increasing deaths of many vulnerable women from the DTES still leaves family, friends, loved ones, and community members with an overwhelming sense of grief and loss. Indigenous women disproportionately continue to go missing or be murdered with minimal to no action to address these tragedies or the systemic nature of gendered violence, poverty, racism, or colonialism.
On Sunday Feb 14th 2015, we will gather at 11 am at the Carnegie Community Centre Theatre, 401 Main Street (corner Hastings, Vancouver) where family members speak in remembrance. Given space constraints, we ask the broader public to join us at noon, when the march takes to the streets and proceeds through the Downtown Eastside, with stops to commemorate where women were last seen or found; speeches by community activists at Main and Hastings; a healing circle at Oppenheimer Park around 2:30 pm; and finally a community feast at the Japanese Language Hall.
We continue to call for a national inquiry that is led by family and community members and that centers our experiences, need for healing, and quest for answers, concrete action, and meaningful justice.
This event is organized and led by women in the DTES because women – especially Indigenous women – face physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual violence on a daily basis. The February 14th Women’s Memorial March is an opportunity to come together to grieve the loss of our beloved sisters, remember the women who are still missing, and to dedicate ourselves to justice.
Homalco woman involved in missing women’s talks
by Cara McKenna, Salish Sea Sentinel
The federal government has heard from Homalco member and women’s advocate Fay Blaney as it designs its inquiry into Canada’s crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett met with Blaney and her coalition from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) on the problem on Jan. 12 before her broader consultation on Jan. 13. Blaney’s group was formed after its members were shut out of BC’s inquiry,which centred around the case of serial killer Robert Pickton.
Blaney and her coalition have been firm that Canada’s inquiry cannot be a repeat of BC’s and that people who have been touched by the issue – particularly Indigenous women – must be involved.
In the hours before she met with Bennett, Blaney and fellow advocates working in the DTES outlined their concerns about how the preliminary consultations into Canada’s inquiry are being handled. She said the meetings that include victims’ family members, loved ones and survivors are exclusionary of women’s groups that could touch on deeper-rooted issues.
Blaney also said Indigenous women are facing “triple jeopardy” and the pre-inquiry meetings haven’t delved into how colonialism continues to impact their safety.
“We’re experiencing sexism and misogyny. We’re experiencing racism and colonialism. And we’re experiencing poverty,” she said. “This inquiry must consult with feminist women’s groups that work with Indigenous women.”
Blaney also said that she is concerned about the timeline of the meetings being too short to gather substantial enough information to set up the inquiry. Bennett began the consultations in early January and is expected to conclude in Ottawa on Feb. 15.
Meanwhile, the annual Feb. 14 Women’s Memorial March – in honour of Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered on the DTES – is on track this year and is expected to draw extra attention in advance of the federal inquiry, which Bennett has said is expected to launch in the spring
ROSE is dedicated to the prevention of violence against women and the remembrance and honouring of women and girls who have been murdered or are missing.
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