Thousands of Indigenous people and supporters will gather in cities across Canada to walk alongside one another to remember the lives of mothers, aunts and daughters that were taken away too soon.
February 14 does not only signify Valentine's Day, the day of love, but it also marks the annual Women's Memorial March in solidarity with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people.
Back in 1991, the family of a murdered Indigenous woman gathered at the spot where she was found on Powell Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Several others joined the family's grieving and soon, this grassroots event grew into the Women's Memorial March to remember all Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people that have gone missing or murdered.
The first official march was hosted in 1992 and has been spread throughout all of North America.
In Winnipeg, the Women's Memorial March will take place today at 6 p.m. at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre (430 Langside Avenue). The march will continue north on Langside Street, east on Sargent Avenue, south on Young Street, west on Ellice Avenue, and then back to the recreation centre.
This route for the march was carefully thought out as it will pass a location on Young St. where a known instance of a MMIWG2S had occurred.
Following the march will be a feast which will be taken care of by the Ka Ni Kanichihk Centre.
"The Legislative Building will be lit with the symbolic red dress on Feb. 14," says a media release from the Manitoba Government. "The red dress is a visual reminder of the tragic issues surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals across Canada and can be a powerful symbol of hope and acknowledgment."
A significant quote that is used during this event is from a flyer distributed at Downtown East Women's Memorial March in 2001, in Vancouver.
"We are Aboriginal women. Givers of life. We are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunties and grandmothers. Not just prostitutes and drug addicts. Not welfare cheats. We stand on our mother earth and we demand respect. We are not there to be beaten, abused, murdered, ignored."