Their Spirits Live Within Us: Women’s Memorial March
Each year on February 14, thousands gather in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to honour and remember missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and gender-diverse people who have lost their lives. This march is intended to bring attention to the gendered violence, poverty, racism, and the effects of colonialism and systemic injustices that has impacted these individuals and still impacts their loved ones today within that community. But it also raises hope for the many who may yet still be safely found.
Family, friends and allies gather here and across the country to share in this collective grief and loss and to re-commit to pursuing justice.
Their Spirits Live Within Us
The Women’s Memorial March began in 1992 after a Coast Salish woman was murdered on Powell Street. Her name is not spoken out of respect for her family’s wishes.
This year, the event will take place from 10:00am until 5:00pm. Family and community will gather at the intersection of Main Street and Hastings Street where family members will speak in remembrance. The public march starts at 12:00pm.
Speeches by community members are made at around 2:00pm, followed by a healing circle at Oppenheimer Park around 3:30 pm. A community feast for all will take place at Japanese Language Hall (487 Alexander Street) from 4:00pm-5:00pm.
All are welcome as the march takes to the streets and proceeds through the Downtown Eastside. The gathering makes many stops to commemorate where women were last seen or found.
Viola Thomas, YWCA Indigenous Relations Coordinator, has been invited to speak at the event to share her experience and wisdom with the gathering.
Disproportionate and Targeted
Violence against Indigenous women and girls, Two Spirit and trans people is disproportionate and targeted. Despite many calls, coalitions, studies and a national inquiry, governments have been inexcusably slow to take action to provide measures for safety, to address these tragedies or the systemic nature of gendered violence, poverty, racism and colonialism.
The YWCA recently highlighted a number of recommendations from Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We call on the municipal, provincial and federal governments to take immediate action on implementing these calls.
Women’s Memorial March 2023
When: Tuesday February 14, 2023
Where: At the intersection of Main St and Hastings St, then moving through the neighbourhood
The Women’s Memorial March takes place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səlil̓wətaʔɬ nations.
Who: All are welcome to attend.
Visit this page for more information, including protocols, ways to donate and to volunteer.