Friday, February 12, 2010

Honouring the Lives of BC's Missing, Disappeared & Murdered Women: February 14th DTES March

“We want to know why so many of the missing women cases in Canada remain unsolved,” said McMillan. [native elder Eunice McMillan]

The numbers of missing and murdered women, many of whom are First Nations, across Canada and within BC is hard to determine definitively. There are different estimates but what is clear is that neither the provincial and federal government is willing to do anything to investigate these disappearances. A lot of people want to know who the guilty are and why they are being protected by the authorities and government. Whose interests does this serve?

I would submit that if White women from the Westside of Vancouver, or British Properties were going missing there would be an all out effort to find them and investigate why they went missing, or how their precious lives came to be snuffed out. We have seen the efforts local authorities have put into just such a case on the Westside. Dozens of officers assigned, while poor and marginalized women around BC go missing and are murdered.

Lets face it - race, class and and discrimination have allowed for the disposability of many of girls and women in our society - our so-called "civil society." I call B.S. on the structural inequities that have created these powerful marginalizing and abusive systems which create have's and have-not's. Everyone has value in the Canada I live in. Everyone has the right to dignity, to respect, to safety, to life and to be honoured for what each and every one of us bring to the world and the families and communities we are part of.

Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms

Life, liberty and security of person

7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.


The 19th annual Women's Memorial March

Their Spirits Live Within Us

People will gather at the Carnegie Community Centre Theatre, 401 Main Street (corner Hastings, Vancouver) @ 12pm, where family members speak in remembrance.

At 1 pm, 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 the police station; a healing circle at Oppenheimer Park around 3 pm; and finally a community feast at the Japanese Language Hall.

Find the gathering place here.

Protesters Demand Inquiry into Missing Aboriginal Women

‘We’ve asked . . . but there is no answer,’ activist says

Tiffany Crawford, Vancouver Sun. January 3, 2010

VANCOUVER - More than 100 women rallied in Crab Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Sunday to demand the federal government listen to their plea for a public inquiry into the more than 500 missing and murdered aboriginal women cases across Canada.

“We’ve asked and asked again but there is no answer,” said Bernie Williams, a native elder and activist.

There are 520 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada, according to the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Highway of Tears media reports

Walk 4 Justice demands answers to missing women cases

Aboriginal Women's Action Network | Facebook

February 14 Women's Memorial March DTES Vancouver - Facebook

'Their Spirits Live Within Us."

Report on the two-day forum: Strategizing for Safer Communities for BC Aboriginal Women, bringing together Aboriginal women concerned with violence against women with provincial health and anti-violence organizations, policy makers and funders. Organized by Pacific Association of First Nations Women, BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre and EVA BC.

Download file (pdf)

Pacific Association of First Nations Women (PAFNW)
604-688-1821 Local 2
Fax: 604-688-1823

Assists Aboriginal women and their families with health, education, and social service issues. The Aboriginal Community Health Liaison Program provides advocacy, referral, and support for Aboriginal individuals and families who have difficulties accessing health and social services in Vancouver and Richmond. The Aboriginal Elders Support Program helps Aboriginal women age 55 and over to access and participate in health care services and other activities; offers liaison, referral, consultation, advocacy, education, and research. Also provides client-focused, culturally appropriate Home Care Services, including respite for foster parents, supervised access, housekeeping, and companionship. Agency hours are 9 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday.

Media Invited to Stand with Missing and Murdered Women

Press asked to be part of the change, not perpetuate the problem

The problem – that the list of murdered and missing women, most of them Indigenous, has reached 3,000 since the 1970s; that the list is growing; and that there has not yet been a public inquiry into any of the cases – is exacerbated, according to Owen, by a media that misrepresents the stories of women beaten, violated, kidnapped and murdered across Canada.

United Nations Experts on Women's Rights Call for Canadian Action Plan to Stop Violence Against Indigenous Women
Amnesty International.

Ottawa, ON (Nov. 26, 2008) The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has expressed concern that “hundreds of cases involving aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in the past two decades have neither been fully investigated nor attracted priority attention, with the perpetrators remaining unpunished.”

Concluding its latest review of Canadian compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Committee has urged all levels of government to give priority attention to combating violence against women” including by establishing a comprehensive national plan of action to address the social and economic factors that lead to increased risk for Indigenous women and women from ethnic minorities.