DATE: December 6
PLACE: Stairs outside the Vancouver Art Gallery
DESCRIPTION: It is cold and there is a fine rain falling.
The people who are walking past the Vancouver Art Gallery steps, have to stop and look: on the hand rails are white boards listing woman’s names and dates, in the centre is a large memorial wreath, and hundreds of woman’s shoes are lined up on the stairs. And in front of the stairs are volunteers, both men and women, waiting for the question “what is going on?”
December 6th is Canada’s National Day of Mourning for women who have met with violent deaths. It commerates the memory of the fourteen women who were methodically killed in Montreal (1989) at the L’Ecole Polytechnique.And this is Vancouver’s shoe memorial. It is a memorial to “all” the women who have been killed by violence.
In 2003, I was a member of a group of women who had survived of domestic violence, and we set up the first Shoe memorial here on the stairs. We were tired of going to events where only a few people came, we were tired of the publicity always going to the killers with the victims names forgotten, we were tired of women still being killed. So we decided to hold an all day memorial in a very public way and in a very public location. The symbolism is real and powerful. What do all women have? SHOES. And so on December 6, 2003 pictures of the first memorial began the evening news and appeared on the front page of the local newspapers.
For every pair of shoes, there is a name and a date of a woman, who was killed, for all to read and to remember. To remember, that these women were someone’s mother, sister, or daughter. They had lives that were taken from them. We should at least remember their names. They are not just numbers, they are not just statistics, they had lives.
Many people we have talked to each year have left a lasting impression on us, I remember a young father leaning over to explain to his very young daughter what today meant, what the shoes stood for, and that the violence against women had to stop. I also remember one woman who we talked to earlier, coming back with a new pair of shoes (still in the box) and tearfully putting those shoes on the stairs.
Posted in Locations, News, Vancouver | 8 Comments »
A Few Thoughts After the 10th Annual Shoe Memorial
Canada’s National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women
December 6, 2012
I would first like to pass on two often heard and overheard comments by pedestrians Dec. 6.
“It must be Dec. 6”
“Thank you so much for doing this”
I don’t think I can convey my thanks any better than that. For without your hard work collecting shoes the Memorial could not be built. Women in need appreciate the number of boots and walking shoes they receive.
Again this year we were able to commemorate each woman and girl killed in BC that we know of-869 deaths, 869 pair of shoes. Though we spoke to fewer individuals our goal of Remembering” those who have died needlessly is being fulfilled by our just being there. And not just in Vancouver. The number of Shoe Memorials in Canada continues to grow with Mississauga Ont building their first.
Metro News did an excellent piece http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/468683/empty-shoes-at-vancouver-art-gallery-mark-women-murdered-by-domestic-violence/ on the Vancouver Memorial as well as mentions in other local news media.
Flo long time volunteer and speaker at this years memorial.
We hope you can be a part of this incredible Memorial again this year.
Posted in Vancouver | No Comments »
We are honouring the memory of the women and their families by attaching name cards to each pair of donated shoes which represents a woman or girl who have been killed in violence or are missing. The names of the victims should never be forgotten. more
© 2013 shoememorial.com | Theme by freshwebdesign | Log in