Toronto – February 4, 2014 – On February 14th, UFCW Canada activists will join thousands of other women, men and family members in marches and vigils across Canada to remember and honour missing and murdered women. The history of the February 14th Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women dates back to 1991, after an indigenous woman was brutally murdered on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A march and vigil were created to call attention to the alarming number of women, especially those of Aboriginal descent, who have vanished from their communities.
Of the approximately 600 cases of indigenous women documented to have perished as a result of violence over the past two decades, the National Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) estimates that two-thirds of the cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women occurred in B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
While upwards of 10,000 individuals and organizations, including UFCW Canada, endorsed a 2013 joint statement drafted by the NWAC calling for a National Public Inquiry into this issue, family members and friends of the victims remain ignored and frustrated by the Harper government’s lack of response and action. Indeed, in October 2013, a United Nations human rights investigation criticized the Harper government’s inaction regarding the cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Over the years, UFCW Canada activists and Local Unions have joined community activists at February 14th marches and vigils in a number of Canadian communities.
“We gather in support of our sisters who have been affected by gender-related violence in their communities. We walk to remember the women whose lives were taken, while their families continue to live in despair, anger and frustration. We join in the call for answers and meaningful justice through a national inquiry”, says Paul Meinema, National President of UFCW Canada.
"On February 14, our compassion must be rooted in action. When we walk in support of missing and murdered women, we proclaim that violence against women is unacceptable."
For a list of some of the February 14th marches and vigils being held in various communities across Canada, click here.