Tuesday, February 16, 2016
End of Savagery
26th annual march gives one voice to abuse issues
Harsha Wailia, Carnegie Centre Action Committee/Photos courtesy of Union of BC Indian Chiefs
A young lady marches with tape across her mouth.
he February 14th Annual Women's Memorial March is held each Valentine's Day to honour the memory of all women from the Downtown Eastside who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence.
Now in its 26th year, the march brings courage and commitment to end the violence that vulnerable women in the Downtown Eastside face on a daily basis.
“The government’s current plan for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women should focus on three key issues: the overall status of Indigenous women in Canada, addressing systemic and male violence against Indigenous women, and safe and respectful participation of families and loved ones including families of the heart, frontline workers and Indigenous feminist organizations,” says Fay Blaney, co-chair of the February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee.
The February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee was founded in 1991 when a woman was found murdered on Powell Street. For 26 years, the Committee has been a leading voice on the issue and has raised local, national, and international attention on violence against women.
The march began at Main and Hastings in Vancouver.
According to the Women’s Memorial March Committee “Increasing deaths of many vulnerable women from the Downtown Eastside 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 action to address these tragedies or the systemic nature of gendered violence, poverty, racism, or colonialism.”
In Vancouver, friends and family members led by Indigenous women move through the DTES and stop at sites where women died or were last seen to offer prayers, medicines, and roses in remembrance.
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