Shoe Memorials commemorate victims of gender-based violence


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Toronto – December 12, 2016 – Across the country, UFCW Canada activists stepped up to raise awareness at December 6 Shoe Memorials to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

At the memorials, participants gave thousands of pairs of women's boots and shoes to be donated to women's emergency shelters throughout Canada. The footwear will go to women and children who have escaped violent households.

The first-ever Shoe Memorial was held in Vancouver in 2003 to commemorate the 14 female students who were murdered at Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989, as well as thousands of other women in Canada who have been victims of violence and murder. Since then, citizens across the country have joined the Shoe Memorial effort to honour women who have lost their lives, as well as those who have survived gender-based violence.  

In Vancouver, activists from UFCW Canada Locals 1518 and 247, along with community members and volunteers from the Shoe Memorial Committee, once again participated in the annual Shoe Memorial on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery. B.C. Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger spoke about the importance of the day in combating gender-based violence, and praised participants for donating over 950 pairs of shoes to women’s shelters.

In Mississauga, UFCW Canada Local 1006A members and allies gathered at the Civic Centre’s Great Hall to raise their voices in saying that violence against women is #NotOkay. Mayor Bonnie Crombie addressed the crowd, and activists donated more than 400 pairs of shoes at the event.

In Red Deer, UFCW Canada Local 401 members and community partners braved temperatures of minus 20 degrees to hear from Mayor Tara Veer, who presented a pair of gently-used boots as a gift to the Central Alberta Women's Emergency shelter.

In Winnipeg, activists from UFCW Canada Local 832 attended a memorial lunch hosted by the Manitoba Federation of Labour’s Women’s Committee, where participants donated hundreds of pairs of shoes to women who have been victims of violence.

In Saskatoon, UFCW Canada Local 1400 activists partnered with the Saskatoon Women’s Community Coalition and the Women’s Centre at the University of Saskatchewan to create a donation display honouring victims of domestic violence, and calling on supporters to pledge to do their part to stop violence against women and girls in Saskatchewan.

In addition to supporting numerous Shoe Memorials from coast to coast, UFCW Canada and its Local Unions also participated in the #NotOkay social media initiative throughout November and December. As part of the campaign, activists from across Canada shared images and videos on social media relaying their stance against gender-based violence. As well, UFCW Canada has launched a new initiative demanding paid leave and flexible work arrangements for survivors of domestic violence. To lend your support to the campaign, click here.