Friday, February 8, 2013
Honouring Lives Lost
Annual women's march for the murdered and missing
Submitted by Jean Swanson
he February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of women from the Downtown Eastside who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence.
Now in its 22nd year, the march 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 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.
In December 2011, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women announced that it was launching an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. This announcement came shortly after the Women’s Memorial March Committee and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center made joint submissions in October 2011 to the UN.
This year, the Women’s Memorial March occurs in the context of the provincial missing women’s inquiry, which marginalized the voices and experiences of DTES residents, Indigenous communities, and women’s groups. In December 2012, the international organization Human Rights Watch called on Canada to appoint a national commission of inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“We are calling for a national public inquiry and continue to seek justice internationally with our submissions at the level of the UN,” continues George.
Marches will also be held in at least twelve other cities including Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, Montreal, Oshawa, Ottawa, Regina, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Sault St Marie, Victoria, Winnipeg. 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.
WHAT: 22nd Annual
Women’s Memorial March Press Conference
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