The Women’s Memorial March: A Photo Essay

Every year, community members gather at Main and Hastings to honour missing and murdered women and girls. In the absence of meaningful action at the institutional level, the march meaningfully bears witness to the disappeared.

I took these photos in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside at last year’s February 14th (2014) Women’s Memorial March. First held in 1991, this year the march will take place on Saturday at noon.

The Memorial March transforms public spaces into sites for remembering, so that memorialization may be practiced and memory processed. Through marching, voices of resistance create spaces in which families, friends, and neighbours join together and remember those whose who are no longer with us.

Confronting the silence, inaction, and violence around these connected tragedies is about creating, embodying and reclaiming space. The Memorial March disrupts the boundaries of silence and the barriers of fear we face in confronting everyday violence and oppression. I am honoured to have been able to attend over the years as a settler on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and occupied territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

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Singing at the march on February 14th, 2014.


The march visits the places that women were found murdered or were last seen.


Flowers placed in the places where women were last seen.

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This photograph was an accidental double-exposure; pictured is the person who actually pointed out the text to me (found on a march attendee’s sweater).

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The March heads south along Main street.

Twitter: @stefanafratila