In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver

Support the VMC, donate today!

Advertisement

Honouring Truth - A Public Reading

Independent Report on Missing and Murdered Women Reveals Depth of Discrimination

by Esther Shannon

Reading the names of the missing women.   photo: murray bush - flux photo
Reading the names of the missing women. photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - public reading of the independent report.    photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - public reading of the independent report. photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - public reading of the independent report  photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - public reading of the independent report photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - public reading of the independent report photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - public reading of the independent report photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - photo: murray bush - flux photo
Honouring Truth - photo: murray bush - flux photo

Also posted by flux:

VANCOUVER - Sex workers and their allies together with family members of the missing and murdered women took centre stage this week for a public reading of the Independent Counsel’s report to the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry.

Held on the central Vancouver Public Library plaza, Honouring Truth saw 25 supporters read the 100-page report over five hours as the public listened to the story of lethal discriminatory practices against Downtown Eastside sex workers carried out by law enforcement agencies and governments.

“Honouring Truth was intended to honour the women, 60 per cent of whom were Aboriginal,"  said Kerry Porth, spokesperson for the event.

Porth’s opening speech reminded people of the serious problems with the Inquiry as she noted the provincial government’s refusal to provide participant funding to 13 groups, despite the recommendation of Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal. 

Porth pointed out that Robyn Gervais, appointed by the Commission to represent Aboriginal people at the Inquiry, withdrew to protest the lack of Aboriginal witnesses and that the government overuled the families’ request for more time to cross-examination witnesses.  Finally, Oppal himself refused to call certain critical witnesses, despite the urging of the Independent Counsel and other lawyers.

“The Counsel’s report highlights the systemic bias, sexism, racism, and discrimination that were at the core of this tragedy, and our hope is the reading will help deepen awareness of what truly happened, said Porth.”

Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl was appointed Independent Counsel after the province refused to provide funding that would have allowed sex workers, First Nations and affected Downtown Eastside groups to participate on an equal footing with other Inquiry participants, including the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The title of Gratl’s report, drawn from the Inquiry testimony of the female VPD police officer first assigned to Missing Women case, is telling.  Wouldn’t Piss on Them if They Were on Fire: How Discrimination Against Sex Workers, Drug Users and Aboriginal Women Enabled a Serial Killer.

“We don’t yet know what Wally Oppal will come up in his report by way of recommendations, but we certainly know these discriminatory attitudes and practises are still the norm, said Porth.

“This event felt powerful because it brought many of us together to speak the truth and honour the women.  We will not forget our sisters.  We will not forget their names and their faces.  We will keep fighting for real change.”

 

- 30 -

Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

User login

Advertisement