DEWC joins Tamara’s Walk for MMIW
DEWC Elders are currently participating in the Walk4Justice or Tamara’s Walk, honouring the memory of the many Missing and Murdered Women stolen from land and communities. The walk takes place along the Highway of Tears from Prince Rupert to Smithers, where more than 50 women, mostly Indigenous women, have disappeared or been found murdered.
Indigenous women are disproportionately affected by violence and racism, which takes many forms. Recent reports on the ongoing fentanyl crisis show that First Nations people are 5x more likely to experience an overdose, and in the Downtown Eastside, communities are in constant mourning. Our centre members, around 70% of whom are Indigenous, are fiercely resilient in the face of ongoing loss, and many are family to who the Missing and Murdered Women were closely known. DEWC has recently been granted standing in the National Inquiry and hopes our facilitation of women bringing forth their stories will be received with renewed understanding and respect.
“We’re walking for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, the Elders Council, The February 14th Memorial Walk, Sisterwatch and all our women.” -Carol Martin, Victim Services Worker at DEWC and community leader
Tamara’s walk or Justice4Tears walk is organized by Gladys Radek whose niece Tamara Lynn Chipman went missing on the highway 12 years ago. A community feast at the Nisga’a Hall to honor the Tears4Justice walkers on their journey was held on September 20, 2017 in the presence of hereditary and elected Indigenous governance, family and local community members, a delegation from the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) from Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, BC and a support team from Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS).
The walk began on September 21, 2017 in Prince Rupert and will conclude in Smithers, British Columbia for the start of the hearings on the National Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Thanks to Carol Martin and our sister organization BWSS for some of this information.