February 14, 2017
PRESS RELEASE: EMBARGOED UNTIL FEBRUARY 14, 2017 AT 5PM EST
On Valentine’s Day, Montrealers Host a Flash Mob Calling for Action to Address Systemic Violence Against Missing and Murdered Women
MONTREAL – This Valentine’s Day, Montrealers will host a flash mob and community dinner to honour the lives of women who have been lost to gendered and racialized violence, demanding justice for them. The flashmob, featuring live musical performances and a display of hearts with the names of missing and murdered women, will unfold at 5pm at Complexe Desjardins on February 14th, 2017. The community dinner, taking place at the Native Friendship Centre at 6pm, will include a line-up of speakers and performers. Although this action commemorates women of all backgrounds, emphasis will be given to Indigenous women, who are the disproportionate victims of such violent crimes.
According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada between 2000 and 2008. However, Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the female population. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls currently underway has been welcomed as an opportunity for the government to finally begin to address the disproportionate violence Indigenous women face in Canada. However, NWAC has emphasized that the standards and methods by which the inquiry is being conducted need to be improved in order to ensure that it is as effective as possible and that it provides adequate support to those who are participating in the process. Meanwhile, Quebec Native Women has expressed concern over an uncertain timetable and lack of communication from the inquiry.
For the past nine years, thousands of Montrealers have taken to the streets on Valentine’s Day to demand justice for missing and murdered women, participating in a march organized by the local solidarity group Missing Justice. The memorial march was founded in Vancouver in 1991, and first came about in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman that received little attention by police and media. Given Montreal’s extreme winter cold, organizers of the annual memorial march decided instead to host a flashmob and community dinner this year to promote safety and accessibility.
In addition to calling for justice for Indigenous women and two-spirit people, protesters also call for action to address the injustices facing Black women, Queer women, Muslim women, trans women of colour, migrant and refugee women, women with disabilities and others who experience systemic violence.
Featured guests and performers include:
Vivianne Michel (Quebec Native Women), Nakuset (Native Women’s Shelter), Malek Yalaoui (Qouleur), Agnes Calgo (PINAY), Odaya, Rayana Speed and more.
Ishani Ghosh (English) – 514-882-1129
Mélanie Radilla (French) – 514-918-7915
Stacey Gomez (Spanish) – 438-404-4458