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Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal – December 14, 2017 – Across the country, UFCW Canada activists stepped up to raise awareness at December 6 Shoe Memorials to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
At the memorials, participants gave thousands of pairs of women's boots and shoes to be donated to women's emergency shelters throughout Canada. The footwear will go to women and children who have escaped violent households.
The first-ever Shoe Memorial was held in Vancouver in 2003 to commemorate the 14 female students who were murdered at Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989, as well as thousands of other women in Canada who have been victims of violence and murder. Since then, citizens across the country have joined the Shoe Memorial effort to honour women who have lost their lives, as well as those who have survived gender-based violence.
In Vancouver, activists from UFCW Canada Local 247, along with community members and volunteers from the Atira Women's Resource Society and the Vancouver Fire Department, once again participated in the annual Shoe Memorial on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where musician Nathaniel Pastma delivered a moving performance in honour of victims of gender-based violence.
In Mississauga, UFCW Canada Local 1006A members and allies gathered at the Civic Centre’s Great Hall to donate hundreds of pairs of shoes and raise their voices in saying that violence against women is not okay. As well, members distributed white ribbons and information cards in their workplaces to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence in Canada.
In Edmonton, members of the UFCW Canada Local 401 Women’s Committee pulled off yet another successful event in support of local area women’s shelters. This year the committee collected over 500 pairs of shoes, boots, and other footwear for women and children who have survived abuse, thanks to the efforts of UFCW 401 shop stewards, member-activists, and staff.
In Montreal, TUAC Quebec activists partnered with the YMCA Center-Ville de Montréal to hold their first-ever shoe memorial aimed at raising awareness of violence against women. As part of the memorial, participants organized a commemorative exhibition containing dozens of pairs of women’s shoes and boots donated by TUAC Quebec members and staff.
In addition to supporting numerous Shoe Memorials from coast to coast, UFCW Canada and its Local Unions also participated in the 16 Days of Action initiative throughout November and December. As part of the campaign, activists from across Canada shared images and videos on social media relaying their stance against gender-based violence between November 25 and December 10.