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Maple Ridge Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women virtual again this year

Organizer will be posting a video online on Monday, Feb. 14, to honour the day
Yvonne Desabrais, organizer of the Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women in Maple Ridge, will be honouring the day virtually this year. (Yvonne Desabrais/Special to The News)

The organizer of a Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women is keeping the torch alive.

Although the actual march has not been able to take place since before the pandemic, Yvonne Desabrais is holding the eighth annual event online to keep the issue in the spotlight.

Desabrais will be posting a video online on Feb. 14 at noon. The video will feature Desabrais’ niece and grand niece who will be drumming and singing two songs: The Grandmother Song and The Woman’s Warrior Song.

The Grandmother Song, explained Desabrais, is a Cree song about ancestors that have gone.

“They’re our protectors. So The Grandmother Song is to honour the grandmothers, the women, the warriors,” she said.

The Woman’s Warrior Song is to give strength and power to the women who are missing and murdered, and for women to gain strength, unite, and fight for the right to be safe, she added.

Desabrais will also be lighting a smudge on Feb. 14 at noon and will be posting a picture of it. She will also be having a cup of tea and hosting a drum circle.

The Maple Ridge resident also wants be bring awareness to the Reconciliation process, which she said, is moving too slow.

“We still have the 94 calls to action that are not implemented. We still have the missing and murdered calls to action that are not being implemented,” she said.

READ ALSO: 4 women in one year missing or murdered from Hope to Yale

RELATED: Virtual ceremony for missing and murdered women in Maple Ridge

“Our government is in conflict of interest, as far as I see it. On one hand they’re saying Truth and Reconciliation let’s improve things for the Indigenous. On the other hand, they don’t want the Indigenous to do well because then they have to honour the treaty,” explained Desabrais.

Desabrais misses the energy of the in-person march, describing it as a stronger energy. Even so, she said she wants the event to continue because Indigenous women deserve to be safe.

“Everybody deserves to be safe, and unfortunately our Indigenous women, even though we’re a low percentage of the population of Canada, we have the highest risk of being a victim of violence or murder. That has to change,” she said.

She said that although it’s tiring and draining putting on the march every year, there is too much work to be done, she said.

Desabrais is inviting everyone to do something on that day in honour of the missing and murdered women – whether that be in words, a cup of tea, or make a video – and post it to the Memorial March of Maple Ridge Facebook page.

Ultimately she is hoping that the awareness gets stronger and the community can unite to be part of the change that needs to happen.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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