FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Day of Action for Ashley Machisknic, murdered in Downtown Eastside
Monday October 4th, Ceremony and Vigil at 5 pm behind Regent Hotel (160 East Hastings), followed by rally to Vancouver Police Department
October 4, 2010. VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories- As part of a national day of action for missing and murdered Indigenous women, community members in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside will be honouring the life of Ashley Machisknic, a 22-year old Indigenous woman from Saskatchewan who was found brutally murdered in an alley behind the Downtown Eastside Regent hotel on September 15, 2010. A vigil and ceremony will be held at 5 pm behind the Regent Hotel (160 E. Hastings), followed by a rally to the Vancouver Police Department (Main and Cordova).
According to vigil organizer and Elder Stella August “Ashley’s life was precious and we demand justice for her. The circumstances of her death clearly indicate this was not a suicide; this was a murder that absolutely must be investigated by the Vancouver Police Department. We are prepared to take action to make sure there is a proper investigation into her death; we are tired of her and others becoming just another statistic. There can be no more silence and no more sweeping of these deaths under the carpet.”
Over 3000 women are known to have gone missing or been murdered in Canada since the 1970s. Last year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issued this statement: “Hundreds of cases involving aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in the past two decades have neither been fully investigated nor attracted priority attention.”
“Government and societal apathy towards women living in poverty only compounds the ongoing risk to our women. Without adequate social housing, women are forced into shady hotels where they are vulnerable and more prone to violence by partners, family members, or drug dealers,” continues August.
“This is a continuation of the daily systemic violence that takes the lives of women in the Downtown Eastside. The police and government say that it will stop, but this is an ongoing tragedy. An increasing number of women who are forced to live and work in conditions of extreme poverty and marginalization continue to be murdered or have gone missing,” states victim services worker Carol Martin.
The recently announced Wally Oppal inquiry has also drawn sharp criticism from family members and advocates given Oppal’s political party ties and the decision while he was the Attorney General to not proceed with the additional murder charges.
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MEDIA: Stella August 604 833 8516, Carol Martin 604 681 8480 x 233, Gladys Radek 778 839-0072
To arrange further media interviews with DTES residents, call Harsha Walia 778 885 0040.