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'Their spirits live within us': February 14 Women's Memorial March for Murdered and Missing Women

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In January 1991 a woman was murdered on Powell Street in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. Her name is not spoken today out of respect for the wishes of her family. Her murder in particular acted as a catalyst and  February 14 became a day of remembrance and mourning and this year, twenty three years later, February 14 Women's Memorial Marches are held across the lands and each march reflects the nuances and complexities of the particular region with the common goals of expressing, community, compassion, and connection for all women.  It is a day to protest the forces of colonization, misogyny, poverty, racism and to celebrate survival, resistance, struggle and solidarity and to make visible these forces and women’s resistance.  Led by Indigenous Women, February 14 Women's Memorial Marches signify the strength of decolonization and the power of Indigenous Women's leadership throughout and across the lands.

February 14 -- Why I March?

February 14 -- Why I March?  is a blog series written by women to bring voice to the personal experiences of the activist, the family members, the women who work tirelessly in their communities to address violence.  Over the next days leading up to February 14, 2014 individual reflections will be posted here with the goal of drawing attention to the strength of women and the power of this unique community event.  Unlike any other of its kind, February 14 Women's Memorial Marches demonstrates the power of women’s collective and community organizing and through the telling of February 14 --Why I March? reflects the personal and the political.

Here is a roundup of the blogs:

Why I March: Marlene George by Marlene George 

February 14th in Toronto: Ceremony as an Act of Sovereignty by Audrey Huntley 

Why I March? Women's Memorial March February 14, 2014 -- Winnipeg, Manitoba by Sandra DeLaronde 

Why I March in the February 14th Women's Memorial March by Lorelei Williams 

Memorial March for All the Missing and Murdered Women of Edmonton by Danielle Boudreau 

We March On... by Raven Bowen 

February 14 Women’s Memorial Marches: Not forgetting the legacy and honouring through action by Native Youth Sexual Health Network

Why I March at the Annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women in Montreal by Maya Rolbin-Ghanie

From Juarez to Vancouver: Why I march on February 14 by Rosa Elena Arteaga

2014 February 14 Women's Memorial Marches

Vancouver: Friday February 14, march starts at noon from Carnegie (Main and Hastings). Feb 14 Annual Women's Memorial March -- DTES. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/649903748374268/

Calgary: Friday, February 14 at Scarborough United Church and the event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with speeches. The march will begin at 7 p.m. and light meal will follow. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/477787738994034/?previousaction=join&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&source=1

Montreal: Friday February 14, 6 p.m. at Place Emilie Gamelin (Berri Metro, corner Berri & Ste. Catherine). Annual March for Missing and Murdered Women. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/666987913323993/

Toronto: Friday February 14 starts at 12:30 with Strawberry Ceremony with Wanda Whitebird at the Police Headquarters 40 College Street at Bay. 9th Annual Strawberry Ceremony in Honour of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and those who have died Violent Deaths by Colonialism. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/578758638867662/

Victoria: Saturday February 15, gather at 11 a.m. and the walk will begin at noon. Stolen Sisters Memorial March 2014 -- Lekwungen Territories. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1433280240236673/

Ottawa: Thursday February 13. 4th Annual Day of Justice for our Sisters in Spirit. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/543491765731982/

Thunder Bay: Friday February 14. Full Moon Memory Walk for Missing & Murdered Anishinabe & Metis women. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/26511170481/permalink/10152167964430482/

Orilla: Friday February 14, 4 p.m. at 11 Albert Street South, Orillia ON. Facebook page linked here: https://www.facebook.com/events/706584199365722/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming 

Edmonton: Friday February 14, 6:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church (10821- 96 Street) For more information: [email protected]

Winnipeg: Friday February 14, 5:30 p.m. Convocation Hall University of Winnipeg (515 Portage Ave) For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/231674643681793/


Sister Strong is a film by Alejandro Zuluaga and Harsha Walia, based on concept by the Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group. This is a not-for-profit production that is available for free distribution under creative commons license. For more information, to book a screening, or to order a DVD please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. Click here to watch.

Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside is a short film that documents the 20 year history of the annual women's memorial march for missing and murdered women in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. By focusing on the voices of women who live, love, and work in the Downtown Eastside this film debunks the sensationalism surrounding a neighbourhood deeply misunderstood, and celebrates the complex and diverse realities of women organizing for justice. Click here to watch. (32 mins)

Graphic designed by Alex Gonzalez of Oaxaca Studios

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