Thursday, March 08, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


While, many women today may be celebrating International Women's day, and so we should, after all, there has been many advances in the realm of women's equality. However, I am mindful of the many abuses and violence perpetrated against women. In particular, Aboriginal women, trans women and female children face extreme hardship, poverty, human rights abuses and danger on a daily basis, especially in Vancouver's troubled Oldtown areas.

So while women are celebrating hard fought gains regarding the right to vote, choices on matters of reproductive health and movement toward a more balanced outcome on pay equity issues, I want women and men continuing to espouse how too many women and children are still being left behind in society.

I also ask people to be reminded of local acts which have led to the De-humanizing of women and which have left a major blemish on women's hard fought gains.

Locally, examples of these injustices include the horrific violence on the victims of the Pickton farm carnage and the horrendous abuse of Transformed female, Kimberly Nixon, perpetrated by a supposed women's equality seeking organization, Vancouver Rape Relief.

But there are also gains which I'm proud of and today over lunch, this celebratory mood will be in effect. Today, I'll also toast my late Mother, Alice Hamilton, who 43 years was an instrumental member in starting the Aboriginal Friendship Movement. It brings me such joy to see her name proudly displayed on the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre website alongside other pioneering Aboriginal women like Hattie Ferguson, Mrs Kelly, Marg White, Marg Cantryn White and Mabel Stanley.

Today, on IWD, I'm having lunch at the Wedgewood Hotel with another Aboriginal Leader named Sarah Hunt. We are both part of a funded project, exploring sex trade and youth exploitation issues. This project is funded by the Assistant Deputy Ministers fund.

As Sarah and I enjoy our working lunch, I will be giving thanks, since not that long ago, it would have been unheard of that two Indigenous Women, were seated at a Hotel like the Wedgewood. Hence, this stark reality will not be missed by the two of us.

Locally, I also toast current female political leaders who continue to pave the way for others. I give thanks to our Creator for giving us hard working City Councillors Suzanne Anton, Elizabeth Ball, Kim Capri and Heather Deal.

In Vancouver, local Indigenous Political Leaders who instill pride and inspire us include, MP, Dr. Hedy Fry and MLA, Jenny Kwan. Also, same sex campaigner and MP for Vancouver-East, Libby Davies, has worked diligently on a number of marginalizing issues. And I know these women will understand and not take offense when I personally say to them--Thank You Girls!

And not to leave Men out of the picture, I leave you with a quote extracted from Green USA political leader, Ralph Nader. Mr. Nader says "where Justice prevails--Charity is unnecessary".

Pass it on folks since we still have a long way to go!

Jamie Lee Hamilton