Prime Minister John Horgan; Hli Haykwhl Ẃii X̱sgaak, Melanie Mark, MP for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant; Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity; and Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, released the following statement to mark the annual Women’s Memorial March:
“For 31 years, people have marched together on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nation territories in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for the Women’s Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People.
“Thanks to the local efforts of Indigenous women and Elders, like Rita Blind, the walk reminds all British Columbians each year of the daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and friends who have been directly affected by the violence. , have been assassinated or are still missing. It is a day of remembrance and a call to action to end the violence.
“Violence against Indigenous women and girls remains a pressing issue in our province and across the country.
“In honor of the women, girls and Two-Spirit people who have been robbed and those who have survived, we are committed to working together to ensure the safety and well-being of women and girls, and to address the conditions that put them at risk of violence.
“As part of the early strategies outlined in BC’s Path Forward to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ People, we have responded to calls to action from survivors, families , community members, advocacy groups and organizations to invest in a community fund to empower Indigenous communities – including First Nations people living in urban and off-reserve settings, Métis citizens and 2SLGBTQ+ communities – developing safety plans.
“Dismantling the underlying and systemic issues that result in Indigenous women experiencing violence at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous women is also fundamental to our government’s work to achieve true and lasting reconciliation and to advance gender equity.
“We have made it a priority to commemorate initiatives that raise awareness and honor missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people, survivors, and their family members.
“We support organizations such as the PACE Society in Vancouver, which recently received provincial funding to support sexual assault emergency services, and the WISH Drop-In Center Society, which received funding for the health, education, employment and harm reduction, including the drop-in centre, open 365 evenings a year.
“In 2020, provincial funding enabled WISH to open the first 24-hour temporary emergency shelter in Canada. The shelter has been operating at full capacity since the day it opened, highlighting the urgent need for housing and safe spaces.
“Since March 2020, British Columbia has provided $20 million to support a multi-year grant program offered by the Ending Violence Association of BC to support the delivery of coordinated, community-based emergency response services in the event of an sexual assault, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate across BC
“In recognition of the substantial need for locally relevant and culturally safe supports for survivors of sexual assault in Indigenous communities in British Columbia, approximately half of the grant funding was allocated to an Indigenous services component.
“We are investing in more supportive homes for women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. And for women and children fleeing violence in the home, there are transition houses and safe houses across the province.
“Following a recommendation from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Government of British Columbia announced in April 2021 that Highway 16, known as the Highway of Tears, will benefit Cellular coverage along the entire route.
“We recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done. We pledge to continue to listen, learn, act and work with Indigenous peoples to end gender-based violence and build a future where Indigenous women and children are safe in every home. , every workplace and every community in this province.