Missing Women’s Memorial March today in Vancouver

It’s not a protest and it’s not connected with the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. It’s an annual memorial march for the missing and murdered women of the downtown eastside neighbourhood – the same area in which the Olympic torch procession was re-routed due to protests on Friday.

 

“Their spirits live within us” says the Facebook page announcing the event that starts at noon today at Carnegie Community Centre Theatre, 401 Main Street.

 

Family members will gather to share personal stories before leaving on the march scheduled to leave Main and Hastings at 1 p.m. The Facebook page for this event announces:

 

Stops will be made throughout the DTES where women were last seen or found and a smudge and cedar ceremony will commence. Speeches by community activists takes place at the police station. At 3:00 pm, a healing circle & candlelight vigil will be held at Oppenheimer Park. The day will end with a community feast at the Japanese Language Hall.

 

Some attendees worried about blac bloc protests and security

 

Several people posted their regrets on the Event wall on Facebook – worried about recent protests and security in their neighbourhood, which is heavily barracaded and the atmosphere is still tense after “blac bloc” rioting further west yesterday.

 

The window of the Hudson’s Bay was smashed and many other buildings were damaged when about 30 people in black clothing and masks ran around smashing stuff. To be honest, I was not there so I am passing on info I have received from various people who were there. Also lots of pictures and info at the miss604 blog.

 

One person remembering the women, Gena Thompson, posted on Facebook: “In light of what happened yesterday downtown, I find myself wanting to have a plan in case the Black Bloc should show up at the womens’ march. I’d like for any of us to be able to call on other women in the march to confront them as a group and tell them to leave our march. Just a thought. please… share if you think it’s a good idea.”

 

Event organizer Norris Zucomulwat responded: “We have good security, so we should be okay.. this a peaceful support rally for our women, not a protest.. but you have a good idea, to ensure for anything that may come up. I’m sure that one of the committee will announce a plan…”

 

More info from the Facebook Event:

 

This March gives families, friends, community members an opportunity to come together to grieve and remember these beloved sisters, and to remind the powers that be that we have not forgotten those who are still missing. We dedicate our energies to justice. This event is organized and led by women in the DTES because women, especially Indigenous women continue to face physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual violence.

 

This is not a day of protest but an opportunity to show we care and to let the families know we have not forgotten. We ask groups and organizations not bring banners, flags, or leaflets. The Women’s Memorial March carries five banners in honor of the women. All genders & nations welcome. We thank you for your support of the Women’s Memorial March.

 

** In January 1991 a woman was murdered on Powell Street. Her name is not spoken today, respecting the wishes of family. Her death was the catalyst to move women to take action leading to this special Valentine’s Day march.**

 

 

 

 

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