On Valentine’s day this year I attended the 18th annual memorial march for the missing women of the Downtown Eastside. Called "Their Spirits Live Within Us" the day is organized by the community, and is "an opportunity for the community and those that support us to come together to grieve the loss of our beloved sisters and remember the women who are still missing."

The event began with a private ceremony at the Carnegie Centre, at Main and Hastings, for family members of murdered or missing women. It was followed by a march of hundereds of people, through the streets and alley’s of the Downtown Eastside, lead by elders, to remember the places where some of the missing women were known to frequent.

At one point participants drew their gaze away from the quilts that were being held in memory to the missing women, to sky above, where eagles soared, to beat of drums.

It was moving and extraordinary.

Yet even as the community drew together for this day of remembrance and honour, people were talking about the front page of the Globe and Mail, which launched yet another sensational media series on the Downtown Eastide. To the community that fought for decades to be rid of the "skid road" monicker, the headline read (insultingly), "Canada’s Slum"

Here is some further information from the march organizers, and a brief video from the the day.

Their Spirits Live Within Us

The deaths of many vulnerable women from the Downtown Eastside continues to leave family, friends, loved ones and community members with an overwhelming sense of grief and loss. Many other women have vanished from the streets without a trace. The February 14th Women’s
Memorial March is an opportunity for the community and those that support us to come together to grieve the loss of our beloved sisters and remember the women who are still missing.

The February 14th Women’s Memorial March is sponsored by organizations and individuals like you and is held to honour the lives of women who die each year due to violence and to remember the more than 40 women who are still missing. Each year the Memorial March committee must
raise funds to pay for such things as hall rental, sound system, food, red & yellow roses, memorial brochures, blankets, posters, candles, tobacco and other expenses. If you would like to sponsor a component of next year’s march please call Marlene at (604) 665-3005.

Please make cheques payable to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Women’s Memorial March, 302 Columbia St. Vancouver, BC V6A 4J1. All donations over $10.00 will be gratefully acknowledged with a tax deductible receipt.

For more information please contact Marlene George at Carnegie, by phone at (604) 665-3005, or by e-mail at [email protected]

Thank you very much for your time and attention,

Marlene George

On behalf of the organizing committee of the 2009 February 14th Women’s Memorial March.. thank you…..


Kim Elliott

Publisher Kim spent her first 16 years on a working family farm in Quebec. Her first memories of rabble rousing are of strike lines, promptly followed by Litton’s closure of the small town...