This Valentine’s Day, the 25th annual Women’s Memorial March will take place in Vancouver, Canada, to commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The Vancouver march is expected to draw thousands of people. The Facebook group for the event has over 1,400 members.
The march will begin with speeches from family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and then will proceed through the Downtown Eastside neighborhood, stopping at sites where women were last seen or were found. It will then end with speeches from community activists, a healing circle and a community feast.
Cities across Canada have their own marches, and some US cities are joining in as well. The Women’s Memorial March website lists marches inthe following US cities:
- Fargo, ND
- Minneapolis, MN
- Denver, CO
The Women’s Memorial March was first held in 1991, in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman on a Vancouver street.
“Out of this sense of hopelessness and anger came an annual march on Valentine’s Day to express compassion, community, and caring for all women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Unceded Coast Salish Territories,” the official website for the march says.
Twenty-five years later, the march continues. Many vulnerable women from this area of Vancouver continue to go be killed, and Indigenous women in Canada overall continue to go missing and be murdered at disproportionate rates. All of this happens with little action to address the problem. Native women in the United States face these problems as well.
The Women’s Memorial March website asks people to get involved in these ways:
- Spread the word and join the march: All genders are welcome to join the Feb 14th march. The march organizers ask people not to bring banners, flags or leaflets, as the March carries five banners only to honor the women.
- Plan a memorial march in your community: You can see the list of current marches here. They also ask for people to email them the details if you are organizing a march, so they can communicate with the organizers and build mutual strength. The email address to contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate: The Women’s Memorial March relies on donations to pay for things including a hall rental, sound system, food, memorial brochures, and more. Checks should be made out to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and have “Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March” on the memo line. The address to mail checks is: the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, 302 Columbia St. Vancouver, BC V6A 4J1.