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Toronto – December 17, 2014 – UFCW Canada activists across the country recently stepped up to raise awareness about violence against women by holding Shoe Memorials in Vancouver, Saskatoon and Toronto.
The three events gathered almost one thousand pairs of women’s boots and shoes which were donated to women's emergency shelters in the three cities. Some of the footwear will go to women and children who have escaped violent households, often with just the clothes on their backs.
The first-ever Shoe Memorial was held in Vancouver in 2003, to commemorate the 14 women students murdered at the Montreal Polythechnique, as well as thousands of other women in Canada who have been victims of misogynist violence and murder. Since then, activists in other cities have joined the Shoe Memorial effort.
In Vancouver, UFCW Canada Local 247 activists once again took part in the city’s annual Shoe Memorial on December 6 – the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. The memorial, which was held at the Vancouver Art Gallery and dubbed by many in the community as a one-day "People's Art Installation", included a wall of names of women who have lost their lives to violence in British Columbia.
In Saskatoon, activists from UFCW Canada Local 1400 partnered with the Saskatoon Women's Community Coalition, to hold a Shoe Memorial and candlelight vigil at the University of Saskatoon.
In Toronto, UFCW Canada activists, and members of the UFCW Canada National Council Women’s Advisory Committee, coordinated a Shoe Memorial campaign that resulted in hundreds of pairs of shoes collected and displayed on December 15, at the UFCW Canada National Office. Shoes were received from UFCW Canada Local Unions across Ontario, as well as a donation from UFCW Local 1000A, and shoes donated by Local 1000A members at Maple Leaf Poultry, and at Kretschmar Inc. Later in the day, the shoes and proceeds from the memorial were delivered to the Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke.
"Shoe Memorials like the ones that took place in Vancouver, Saskatoon and Toronto, help bring awareness to the issue of violence against women,” says Nancy Quiring, UFCW Canada’s regional director for the Western Provinces, and chair of the National Council Women's Advisory Committee. “These events also create opportunities for a dialogue about gender-based violence, and what we can do together, and as individuals, to stop it.”
Throughout the first two weeks of December, UFCW Canada, in partnership with YWCA Canada, was also a part of the incredibly successful #NOTokay social media initiative to raise awareness about gender-based violence. UFCW Canada would like to thank all those who helped participate in the initiative.