Toronto – February 6, 2015 – February 14th Annual Memorial Marches will take place across Canada on Valentine’s Day. These marches were first held by grassroots movements and committed citizens following the death of a local indigenous woman in 1991 in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside. Since then, February 14th Memorial Marches have been held yearly across the country.
The march is a powerful way that communities can come together to remember lost lives and regain strength in advocating for missing and murdered women in Canada. Statistics gathered from the Native Women’s Association of Canada show that the rate at which indigenous women and girls go missing or are murdered is four times higher than the national average. A recent report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presents findings that a sizable proportion of missing and murdered indigenous women come from British Columbia and Alberta. The report presents a viewpoint that the disproportionate pattern of violence faced by this group is synonymous with the broader discrimination against indigenous women in Canada. In the past year, the RCMP also filed a report with findings showing 1,181 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada at the time of its release. Compounding the issue, many incidents of violence go unreported by victims and are thereby not encompassed in this report.
We must push for an inquiry that looks at ways of eliminating violence against women in Canada. An inquiry that addresses the systemic discrimination when it comes to indigenous women’s experience with violence is vital in keeping women safe. Women and men who come together to participate in the February 14th Memorial Marches across Canada this Valentine’s Day will send a strong message of solidarity with missing or murdered women’s families, their loved ones and the ones they left behind.
Every march sends a resounding message that violence against women must be stopped.
To find out about marches in your local area, check out the February 14th Memorial March movement webpage or facebook event page.