Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa – www.ipsmo.org

September 8, 2011

Walk 4 Justice

Please spread the word!

On June 21, 2011, Walk4Justice began their long walk from Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory to Ottawa, Algonquin Territory to raise awareness about the plight of the far too many (over 3000) missing and murdered Indigenous women across Turtle Island (Canada). On Monday, September 19, they will be ending their walk at Parliament Hill where they will continue demanding justice for these women and their families.

Please come out and show your support for the walkers. Bring your banners, signs or placards and good spirit to the rally!

March & Rally
Monday, September 19
9am at Minwaashin Lodge (424 Catherine St), 10am Parliament Hill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112167435552467

Please join the walkers at Minwaashin Lodge at 9am and walk with them to Parliament Hill.  If you can’t make it then, please come to the rally on Parliament Hill at 10am.

Feast and Fund-raiser 
Monday, September 19
5:00pm at Mac Hall on 211 Bronson Ave.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=242669869108872

Community celebration, feast, entertainment, and fundraiser! Featuring Walk4Justice co-founders Gladys Radek & Bernie Williams and Beverley Jacobs from Families of Sisters in Spirit.  Headliners for the performance: Elaine Kicknosway, Nancy Myatt, Vera Wabegijig, Sandy Scofield, Elizabeth Riley Band and Jamie Koebel!Please spread the word!

These 2 events are part of the 30 Days of Justice organized by the Families of Sisters in Spirit and their allies.  “30 Days of Justice” brings together families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and the wider Ottawa communities to raise critical awareness on the violence against Indigenous women and demand justice and accountability for the disappeared and murdered women. For more details and other events during the 30 Days of Justice: http://30daysofjustice.wordpress.com

About Walk4Justice

The Walk4Justice is a nonprofit organization that was created by donation and volunteer since January 2008. Gladys Radek and Bernie Williams co-founded this group to raise awareness about the plight of the far too many missing and murdered women across Canada. Their supporters consist of family members who have lost their loved ones across the nation and grassroots women and men from all walks of life. Together with their supporters, the Walk4Justice demands justice, closure, equality and accountability.

Gladys’s niece, Tamara Lynn Chipman disappeared off Highway 16 out of Prince Rupert, BC, now dubbed the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia. She vanished without a trace on September 21, 2005. Bernie is a long time advocate and voice for the women who have been forced to live on the streets of Canada’s poorest postal code, the DTES. She has been a frontline worker in the DTES for 25 years. Her mother and two sisters were also victims of violence who were murdered in the DTES over the years.

For more info: http://fnbc.info/walk4justice

About Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS)

FSIS is a volunteer grassroots non-profit organization led by families of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada with the support of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. FSIS was the vision of one family member named Bridget Tolley, an Algonquin grandmother and activist from the Kitigan Zibi First Nation whose mother was killed by a Quebec provincial (SQ) police car in 2001 with the ongoing support of Beverley Jacobs, Mohawk grandmother from Grand-River Territory, whose cousin Tashina General, pregnant with her son Tucker, was murdered in 2008, and non-Aboriginal student and activist Kristen Gilchrist. Together we are working to end violence, challenge interconnected inequalities in Canadian society, and transform ourselves and the world around us.

Visit their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Families-of-Sisters-in-Spirit/169989823049052

About the performers

Elaine Kicknosway and her son Theland: Drummer and Hoop dancer

Nancy Myatt: Nancy is a Mohawk from Kahnesatake with Algonquin. Her family lives in Kitigan Zibi. She is a traditional dancer and drummer. She has two daughters and a granddaughter arriving in November. She has supported Take Back the Night and Sisters in Spirit by sharing songs in her culture. She is very happy to support and be involved in this cause because her great grandmother was also murdered.

Vera Wabegijig: Vera is a poet and Anishnaabe mother from the bear clan who writes for expression and to connect with the larger world. See Vera’s gift to us: http://verawaabegeeshig.wordpress.com/

Sandy Scofield: Sandy is a multi-award winning composer, musician and singer. She has studied classical, jazz, African, Indonesian gamelan and electro-acoustic music. A Métis from the Saulteaux and Cree Nations, she hails from four generations of fiddlers, singers and musicians. Among her four recordings to date, she has won five Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, a Canadian Folk Music Award, an Indian Summer Music Award (U.S.A.), a Western Canadian Music Award and received three consecutive Juno nominations. Check out her web site: http://sandyscofield.com/

Elizabeth Riley Band: Ottawa-based Elizabeth Riley Band has a raw, contagious sound, with original songs and interpretations inspired by bluegrass, folk classics, and alt and traditional country music. Wielding banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, djembe, stand-up snare, these four singer-songwriters speak out about personal, social and political realities. Their songs are infused with women’s lived experience. Vocally driven with an electrified edge, Elizabeth Riley Band has captivated audiences at an eclectic range of venues. For a taste of their music: http://www.elizabethrileyband.com/

Jaime Koebel: Jamie is Metis from Lac La Biche, Alberta. She is an artist, a performer, an educator and a public speaker. As a successful visual artist, she has been fortunate to have works that have been showcased world-wide and held in many prestigious personal and public galleries. Her art reflects fantastical plant life – all with a story! As a performance artist, She was a dancer with the well-known troupe, Jig on the Fly for five years until 2010 when she started a new dance group with her children called Jaime and the Jiglets. She also dances with the musical group, Fiddle Ground. Over the years, She has won many individual dance competitions in Canada and the United States. See her fantastic works: http://www.JaimeKoebel.com/

March 31, 2011

No More Stolen Sisters: Safe Shelters, Safe Housing, Safe Services

** Please forward and read below on three IMPORTANT ways you can support **

Over the past two months a growing group of women residents of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) in Vancouver as well as a coalition of DTES and women-serving organizations have been raising the urgent issue of women’s safety in shelters in the Downtown Eastside. This has come in response to a number of reported sexual assaults in DTES shelters.

We have been dismayed by the lack of response by all levels of government about the ongoing violence committed against women in the Downtown Eastside. We have been outraged that all four of our correspondences have been ignored. We have been shocked that our delegation to BC Housing in March 2011 was met with a heavy presence of police and we were shut out from any dialogue on this issue. All this suggests to us that BC Housing as well as city and provincial officials do not consider women’s safety a priority within their funded facilities.

Sexual assaults against women in this neighbourhood are normalized as we have seen with the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered women. Women should not have to “choose” between the indignity of homelessness and being warehoused in shelters, and the high-risk of assault associated with both. We will not remain silent or complicit and are continuing a grassroots campaign based on three core demands that we believe can and should be met in a timely manner.

We are calling for:

1) A 24 hours low-barrier women-only (includes all self-identified women) drop-in space and shelter in the Downtown Eastside, ideally on Hastings Street between Main and Jackson. The establishment and operation of this service should be done through an accountable process including a transparent call for tenders and in consultation with community organizations and DTES resident women.

2) Housing for homeless women and children with at least 100 new units to be made available immediately.

3) Clear provincial standards for women’s safety in co-ed shelters to be implemented immediately in all existing and new shelters, including but not limited to:

• Women-only facilities in co-ed shelters with adequate women-only beds and services within those spaces.

• Women staff and training for all staff by women’s organizations experienced in issues of sexual and gender violence. Shelter contractors must demonstrate the ability to ensure safety and security for women shelter users and all staff must be able to demonstrate an understanding of gender inequalities that contribute to violence against women.

We are calling on allied groups, communities, and individuals to support us. Please get involved and spread the word!

For more information email project@dewc.ca or call 604 681 8480 x 234. Website:
http://womensmemorialmarch.wordpress.com/

HOW TO SUPPORT

1) PETITION: Please sign our online petition. We are hoping to gather 5000 signatures in two weeks and need your help to make this happen! Link to petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/DTESsafe/petition.html

2) ENDORSE: If you are a member of a women’s group, social justice collective, community centre, union, service organization, or campus group, we request that you please endorse our three demands by emailing hwalia8@gmail.com or calling 778-885-0040.

3) WRITE-IN: We are requesting that everyone to please send an email along the lines of the below to all of the following people in BC Housing, City Council, MLA’s and MP’s.

RE: Safe Housing and Safe Services for Women in the DTES

It has come to my attention that for the past two months a coalition has been raising the urgent issue of women’s safety in shelters in the Downtown Eastside. I have been dismayed by the lack of response by all levels of government about the ongoing violence committed against women in
the Downtown Eastside. Sexual assaults against women in this neighbourhood in particular are normalized and their safety is not considered of highest priority as we have seen with the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered women. This would never be acceptable in any other part of town. I support the call for a 24 hours drop-in space and shelter for women in the Downtown Eastside, housing for homeless women and children, and clear protocols to be established within co-ed shelters.

Sincerely,
(NAME, ADDRESS, CONTACT INFO)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Open Letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson “Women Respond to Sexual Assaults in Downtown Eastside Church Shelter While Shelter and City of Vancouver Ignore Reports”: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/6390

Press Release “Women Respond to Comments by Reverend Ric Matthews of First United Church; Reiterate Calls for 24-hour Women’s Shelter and Safe Housing in DTES”: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/6496

Press Release “Women’s Action in Downtown Eastside for Women’s Safety” and Open Letter to BC Housing: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/6692

SELECTED MEDIA

Video of press conference: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/video/press-conference-women-respond-sexual-assault-dtes-shelter/6484

Podcast of Vancouver DTES women’s groups shut out of B.C. Housing office: http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/pivot-legal-society/2011/03/vancouver-dtes-womens-groups-shut-out-bc-housing-office

Women rail against violence in shelters: http://www.theprovince.com/news/assault+protest/4488619/story.html

Safe Housing, Safe Shelters and Safe Services for Women: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/vancouver-politics-and-service-provision/6707

More emergency shelter spaces needed for women, Vancouver council hears: http://www.straight.com/article-382418/vancouver/more-emergency-shelter-spaces-needed-women-vancouver-council-hears

Women’s groups outraged over sexual assault comments: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/03/02/bc-first-united-church-sexual-assaults.html

This campaign has been endorsed by:

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, DTES Power of Women Group, WISH Drop-In Centre Society, Walk4Justice, Battered Women’s Support Services, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, PACE Society, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Vancouver Status of Women, Oxfam Canada, No One Is Illegal Vancouver, Vancouver Action, Council of Canadians, Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund, Streams of Justice, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, Carnegie Community Action Project, Purple Thistle Centre, W2 Community Media Arts Society, Life Skills Centre , Ending Violence Association of BC, Portland Hotel Society, Pivot Legal Society, UBC Centre for Race Autobiography Gender and Age studies, Interfaith Institute for Justice, Peace and Social Movements, Women Against Violence Against Women, Aboriginal Front Door

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