Walk4Justice


http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3252625 By Jessica Cable In June of 2008 the first Walk 4 Justice set out from Vancouver, honouring the 2,932 missing and murdered women the group had named in their database of research and demanding a national public inquiry from the government. Four years later the walkers are once again on route to Ottawa, this time, however, they’re walking for the 4,200 women they say have now been murdered or gone missing across Canada. “It doesn’t get any easier and it’s escalating. We want to stop violence against women once and for all,” said Walk 4 Justice’s co-founder Gladys Radek, whose niece disappeared in 2005 off of the Highway of Tears in Northern B.C. “What do we want? We want justice and we want it now.” Radek, along with the group’s co-founder Bernie Williams and 10 other walkers, arrived in Kenora last night, each one of them sharing tragic stories about a missing or murdered family member to a room of supporters at First Baptist Church. The group of women and men are taking their stories to rally on Parliament Hill, where they plan to arrive on Sept. 19. The group is advocating for proper support programs, education and public safety nets to be put in place. “Our own stories keep us going,” said Williams, a long-time advocate for women living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “You do get bitter after a while, though. You don’t see the change happening and you see the numbers increasing and you see programs for women and children getting cut and you see the systematic racism. I’m so tired of being stereotyped. These women had a right to live.” The Walk 4 Justice support vehicles are covered with photographs and details of women who have been murdered or gone missing. “We asked for permission from the families we’ve met, either from the walk, emails or rallies, to carry those pictures,” said Williams. “They’re of women from 1986 to 2011.” Since the walk began on June 21, Williams said 19 women have been murdered or gone missing. One of the most recent cases is the gruesome death of 32-year-old Roberta McIvor, whose body was found decapitated on Sandy Bay First Nation on July 30. The group of walkers visited McIvor’s family while walking through Manitoba. “For myself, it was very emotional. Roberta’s mom brought us to where they found her remains. We need to stand by her, but it was just so emotional and heavy on all of us,” said Williams, adding this year’s walk will likely be her last. “I’ve been (drawing attention to the issue) since 1986 and it’s taken a toll on...

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ROBERT MATAS VANCOUVER — From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2009 03:36AM EDT They set out on a 1,500-kilometre walk to draw attention to women who have gone missing and possibly been murdered along the Northern B.C. highway known as the Highway of Tears. They did not anticipate they could be placing themselves in danger by heading to a campsite washroom near the highway. But they were shaken by a man who burst out of a women’s washroom as they entered. He dashed to a waiting vehicle. Another man was in the driver’s seat. The car sped off. “There was no need for those men to be there,” Michael Harris, a spokesman for Walk4Justice, said yesterday in an interview. What would have happened had one woman gone alone to the washroom was left to speculation. The women did not report the incident to police. But they told Gitxsan chiefs in Hazelton, the next stop on their trek, that their walk to turn a spotlight on those who stalk women had attracted stalkers. “We were followed into the campsite,” said Bernie Williams, one of the co-founders of the walk. The walk was to draw attention to the unsolved cases of female hitchhikers, mostly aboriginal women, who have gone missing or been murdered along Highway 16. The walkers set up their tents in an isolated campground outside Moricetown, a village of less than 1,000 people about 30 kilometres west of Smithers. The walkers were the only campers on the grounds. They felt as if they had been followed by a stalker. The group arrived in Prince Rupert yesterday afternoon, 25 days after leaving Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. Mr. Harris said the trek has been an emotionally charged event. Everyone involved was either related to or a close friend of someone who was murdered or missing. And at every stop, they heard more stories about women who disappeared or were murdered. “The emotions are really raw,” Mr. Harris said in an interview. “They feel that pain a lot of the time.” Ms. Williams said the trek was difficult, especially because women continue to go missing. The group is pressing for a public inquiry into the disappearances and for a more extensive RCMP investigation. They believe authorities have not treated investigations into the disappearances as a priority because many of the women are aboriginal. At a meeting with Gitxsan chiefs in Hazelton last week, several speakers said they felt no one wanted to listen to their stories or pay attention to their issues. Ms. Williams said in an interview that the group also aims to raise awareness among native people...

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