Premier John Horgan; Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant; Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity; and Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, have issued the following statement to acknowledge the annual Women’s Memorial March for murdered and missing women and girls in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside:
“Today, like every Feb. 14 for the last 29 years, families, survivors and allies will gather in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for the Women’s Memorial March for murdered and missing women and girls. It takes place on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
“The march honours the beloved daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties and friends whose lives were stolen by violence. It is also a tribute to the strength and determination of those, led by Indigenous women, elders, families and community members, who have been powerful activists to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. It is these grassroots advocates who have been first in line to hold authorities to account in the fight for justice to keep women and girls safe.
“Ensuring the safety of Indigenous women requires listening to, and working with, Indigenous women. Our government is committed to doing just that. We need to improve the safety of Indigenous women and girls by addressing and educating people about the underlying causes of systemic violence and racism that lead to their victimization at home, in the workplace and in industry, including addressing the social effects of industrial work camps. Together, we must continue to raise awareness that gender-based violence has no place in our lives.
“Today’s memorial march includes a private ceremony where friends and family share memories of the women whose lives were stolen. As the march progresses through the Downtown Eastside, stops are made where women or girls were last seen or where they were murdered. These women are not statistics – they are people, who are loved, and whose loss leaves a wound in those they left behind.
“Today, let us join in remembering them, and resolve to work together toward a future in which Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit and gender-diverse people feel safe, secure and equal in every community in this province.”