While the mood this Sunday will revolve around cheap chocolates and promises of love, an atmosphere of respect and mourning will most likely be felt in Downtown Montreal.
Indeed, this Valentine’s Day, hundreds of people are expected to gather at the St-Laurent metro station for Montreal’s 7th Annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women. This march will honor the lives of hundreds of Native American women who have disappeared or have been murdered in the past few decades.
The first march of this sort was held in Vancouver in 1991, as a response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman, following the little media coverage the case had gotten. Since then, the event has been held annually in Vancouver on Valentine’s Day, and has gradually spread over the country. The first Montreal march took place in 2007.
Violence against Native women is a problem that is still very much relevant nowadays. Amnesty International considers the issue as being “nothing less than a national human rights crisis.” According to Statistics Canada, in a report released last November, Native women were six times more likely to be murdered than non-Native women between 2001 and 2014.
The march is organized by the Center of Gender Advocacy, a student organization based at Concordia University that aims to offer better healthcare for transgender people and safe sex resources, as well as support and especially advocate for Native women and their struggles.
The Center of Gender Advocacy invites the members of the Vanier College community to come out this Sunday and show their support at the St-Laurent metro station, where the march will begin at 3 PM. Childcare is available if a notice is provided 48 hours before the event and free, accessible taxis can be provided with notice placed 72 hours before the event. More information can be found on the Center of Gender Advocacy’s website.
Written By: Sarah Boumedda
Originally Published: February 2016