Monday, January 22, 2007



As reported yesterday by me, I continue to bring attention to those lives who have been stolen through no fault of their own.

With the Pickton trial now unfolding, many disturbing facts will be presented to the public. It's my hope to remind citizens of the carnage pre-dating Pickton and of course the aftermath of the horrendous crime which will blemish Vancouver with a black eye for a very long time.

While, Vancouver had next to zero cases of sex trade murders pre 1985, shortly thereafter, we began to hear about women being murdered. It was around this time that the Attorney General of the day, seeked a Court Injunction, barring sex trade workers from the West End of Vancouver. Hookers on Davie had became notoriously known as the sex trade stroll after officials shut down the legendary Penthouse Club.

In 1991/1992, while I was working at DERA, a horrible murder took place in the Downtown Eastside. An aboriginal woman named Cheryl Ann Joe, 26 years of age and mother of four, was brutalized and mutilated beyond compare. So heinous a crime, even I refuse to disclose specific details of the murder.

Many community activists, in the DTES sprang into action over this horrible killing of Cheryl Ann. A meeting was hastily arranged at the Carnegie centre and a number of community members attended including Aboriginal leader Viola Thomas of Carnegie, Chris Downing of the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, Karen Sorensen, Jenny Kwan and myself from DERA and Liz Evans of the Portland hotel Society. Others attended as well and I apologize if I omitted their names. From this meeting, a march around the Downtown Eastside was organized by Muggs Suigurdson of the Carnegie centre along with the aforementioned individuals and other volunteers. I was involved in this first march and we went around to the various last seen spots of the victims and honoured them, including the isolated spot where Ms Joe was murdered.

This March caught the eye of now Senator Larry Campbell, who was then regional Coroner. Senator Campbell attended DERA and his mission was to find answers on how to prevent this Violence from occurring.

Unfortunately, the carnage continued and continues to this day. Many actions took place, however, while these actions, including my Dumping of 67 pairs of Stiletto shoes on the steps of City Hall, produced attention, the lack of political will to find solutions wasn't there and unfortunately to this day the neglect,indifference and lack of political will continues.

The murder of Ms Joe was committed by a highly respected member of the Hastings Sunrise neighborhood. He was caught by accident through the eagle eye of a CP rail security person who copied down the license plate of the van of Mr. Allender. It was parked in a secluded spot near the intersection of Clark and Powell streets, close to the waterfront and train tracks.

It needs to be noted that the accused coached youngsters at the Hastings Minor Hockey Association. Mr. Allender was charged with first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

While the life of Ms Joe was stolen, her kids were also robbed of having a mother tend to their needs. I often wonder if her family members will ever be able to feel love again.

These types of heinous crimes can not continue.

Citizens need to be reminded of the untold costs to society when this victimization and violence occurs. Imagine, if you can, the cost to Ms Joe's children, her family and loved ones. Imagine the costs to the young son and wife of Mr. Allender.

These murders are preventable and its up to us, collectively to clamour for change. Good social policies must be adopted and implemented. We must not allow those we elect to continue burying their heads in the sand.

Jamie Lee Hamilton
(778) 235-3677


At 1:01 AM, Anonymous theUglyChineseCanadian said...

Thank you Jamie Lee for providing the background and insights into the background of my old neighbourhood - the downtown eastside.

With all of this media attention gawking upon the trial of this heinous monster, your blog will provide much inside and historic information that will likely be missed by mainstream lily-white gloved reporters.

Your observation about electing responsible civic leaders is so true. It's just too bad that many of the better contenders/candidates that had ran in past elections just could not get elected into office. Thus...something to be said about the citizens of our city. They don't vote with their brains. They do not look at the quality and backgrounds of the candidates. They often cast uninformed votes...and ending up with mediocrity.

And we, as society, have, and are still paying the price of gutless leadership.

My heart goes out to all our sisters, their families and friends during this time.

May justice prevail.


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