Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside

Yesterday, hundreds of marchers took part in the 20th Annual Women’s Memorial March around the Downtown Eastside to remember Vancouver’s missing and murdered women. From the Annual Women’s Memorial March blog:

Increasing deaths of many vulnerable women from the DTES still leaves family, friends, loved ones, and community members with an overwhelming sense of grief and loss. Over 3000 women are known to have gone missing or been murdered in Canada since the 1970s. Two years ago, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issued this statement: “Hundreds of cases involving aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in the past two decades have neither been fully investigated nor attracted priority attention.” The February 14th Women’s Memorial March is an opportunity to come together to grieve the loss of our beloved sisters, remember the women who are still missing, and to dedicate ourselves to justice.

An article from straight.com reflects an analysis from Delannah Gail Bowen, an organizer of the march:

Delannah Gail Bowen, who has been helping to organize the memorial march for seven years, said the root causes of violence against women need to be considered in order to address the issue.

“For this issue to be addressed, we have to go to the heart of the problem, and the heart of the problem is the poverty, the heart of the problem is not having our voice heard,” said Bowen.

“We have to look at the whole picture. Dealing with an issue when it gets to the crisis point means that it’ll always be at the crisis point, instead of going to the root of the issue,” she added.

“Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside” is a short and powerful film that documents the 20 year history of the annual women’s memorial march for missing and murdered women in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. By focusing on the voices of women who live, love, and work in the Downtown Eastside this film debunks the sensationalism surrounding a neighbourhood deeply misunderstood, and celebrates the complex and diverse realities of women organizing for justice. (32 mins)  (For a subtitled version of this film, please visit this site.)

The film is by Alejandro Zuluaga and Harsha Walia, based on concept by the Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group. This is a not-for-profit production that is available for free distribution under creative commons license. For more information, to book a screening, or to order a DVD, please contact hwalia8@gmail.com or alejo.zuluag@gmail.com.

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