FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATTENTION: ALL NEWS EDITORS
20th ANNUAL WOMEN’S MEMORIAL MARCH
PRESS CONFERENCE: MON FEB 14th 10:30 AM IN CARNEGIE (3RD FLOOR)
February 11, 2011. VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories- The February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of the women from the Downtown Eastside who die due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. Now in its 20th year, the March is an immensely powerful women’s action that brings courage and commitment to remember and honour murdered and missing women and to end the violence that vulnerable women face on a daily basis.
“We are here to honour and remember the woman, and we are here because we are failing to protect women from the degradation of poverty and systemic exploitation, abuse and violence. We are here in sorrow and in anger because the violence continues each and every day and the list of missing and murdered women gets longer every year,” says Marlene George, Memorial March Committee organizer.
Over the past year, approximately ten women in the Downtown Eastside have been murdered including Ashley Machisknic, a young Indigenous woman who was found in an alley behind the Regent hotel on September 15, 2010 and Carla Marie Smith, a sex-trade worker found brutally murdered on February 7, 2011. Indigenous girls have continuously relayed harrowing stories of drugging and sexual assault by sexual offender Martin Tremblay. In 2003, Tremblay was charged with 18 counts of sexual assault and administering a noxious substance to five Indigenous girls between the ages of 13 and 15. This year two women have been murdered by Tremblay. 17-year-old Martha Hernandez died from a lethal dose of drugs and alcohol inside Tremblay’s home in March 2010 and the same day 16-year-old Kayla Lalonde’s body was discovered near his home.
In the face of this unending violence, the Memorial March Committee is seeking standing at the provincial government’s controversial Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. “While the government has finally established an inquiry which we have demanded for years, we have not been consulted or involved in any meaningful way about the purpose or scope or terms of reference. We are seriously questioning the integrity of this inquiry as well as Commissioner Wally Oppal,” states Carol Martin, a victim services worker.
This year, marches will also be held on February 14 in at least ten other cities including Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and London.
In Vancouver, friends and family members led by women move through the DTES, stopping at sites where women have died for ceremonies and laying roses in remembrance as well as offering prayers and medicines. Prior to the march, a press conference is being organized at 10:30 am in Carnegie. “The women we remember may not be with us today, but we cannot let their struggles be forgotten. Every life is precious and we continue to work for justice by sending a strong message that sexual violence will not be tolerated,” further states George.
MEDIA PROTOCOL FOR FEB 14TH: There will be a media scrum in Carnegie 3rd floor, classroom 2 at 10:30 am. There will be NO MEDIA in Carnegie Theatre during the family remembrance between noon-1 pm. Media may record the march at 1 pm, except no recording of any of the ceremonies during the march.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Marlene George: 604-665-3005, Carol Martin 778 322 3069, Mable Mipshank 604 808 6504, Stella August 604 833 8516, Dalannah Bowen 604 642 2502, Lisa Yellow-Quill 604 618 1061,. Website: https://womensmemorialmarch.wordpress.com/
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February 5, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19TH ANNUAL WOMEN’S MEMORIAL MARCH: THEIR SPIRITS LIVE WITHIN US
Press Conference: Wed Feb 10th, 10 am, Carnegie Theatre, Main and Hastings, Vancouver
February 5, 2010. VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories- The February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of the women from the Downtown Eastside (DTES) who die each year due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. The Women’s Memorial March began 19 years ago after the brutal murder of a Coast Salish woman that left the neighbourhood in shock. This was the catalyst that moved women to take action against ongoing violence of women in the DTES.
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.”
According to Marlene George, Memorial March Committee organizer, “Government and societal apathy to these losses of thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women living in poverty only compounds the ongoing risk to our women.”
An international press conference is being organized on Feb 10th at 10 am in the Carnegie Theatre to shed light on the heinous and unimaginable violence. “This is an ongoing issue. An increasing number of women who are forced to live and work in conditions of extreme poverty and marginalization are being murdered or have gone missing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. These women may not be with us today, but we cannot let their lives and struggles be forgotten. Every life is precious and we must continue to work for justice for murdered and missing women,” further states George.
This year, marches will also be held on Feb 14 in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Sudbury, London, Montreal, and Victoria. In Vancouver, a community of friends and family members led by women will move together through the streets of the DTES, stopping at the sites where women have died, lay a red or yellow rose in remembrance, and perform spiritual ceremonies for healing.
MEDIA PROTOCOL FOR FEB 14TH: There will be a media scrum on the Carnegie patio at 11 am. There will be no media in Carnegie Theatre during the family remembrance between noon-1 pm. Media may not film inside any part of the Carnegie building as per their regulations. Media may record the march at 1 pm, except no recording of any of the ceremonies during the march. Thank you for your respect.
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MEDIA: Marlene George: 604-665-3005, Carol Martin 604 681 8480 x 233, Stella August 604 833 8516, Mona Woodward 778 241 8440, Bernie Williams 604 609 0552, Dalannah Bowen 604 642 2502.
In French – Corinthia Kelly 604 727 9004