Thursday February 9, 2012

Women's News

'Their Spirits Live Among Us'

Women's Memorial March set to go Feb 14 in Vancouver

Released by Harsha Walia, DTESWC



he February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of women from Downtown Eastside who have died due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. Now in its 21st year, the March is an immensely powerful women’s action that brings courage and commitment to remember and honour murdered and missing women, and to end the violence that vulnerable women in the DTES face on a daily basis.

“We are here to honour and remember the women, and we are here because we are failing to protect women from the degradation of poverty and systemic exploitation, abuse and violence. We are here in sorrow and in anger because the violence continues each and every day and the list of missing and murdered women gets longer every year,” says Marlene George, Memorial March Committee organizer.

This year, the Annual Women’s Memorial March will be preceded by a rally on Monday February 13th at Georgia and Granville against the Sham provincial missing women’s inquiry headed by Wally Oppall. Says George “We are boycotting this Sham Inquiry because we have been shut out from it and it has continued to marginalize the voices and experiences of women from the DTES. Women continue to go missing or be murdered with no action from any level of government to address these tragedies or gendered violence, poverty, racism, or colonialism.”

The Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee and DTES Women’s Centre have recently made submissions under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and are now seeking justice internationally. The organizations formally submitted that “The Commission continues the pattern of grave and systemic discrimination against women in the Downtown Eastside which the Commission was supposed to investigate.”

This year, marches will also be held on February 14 in at least ten other cities including Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and London. In Vancouver, friends and family members led by Indigenous women move through the DTES and stop at sites where women have died. At these sites, women offer prayers, medicines, ceremonies, and lay roses in remembrance.

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