People gathered at McBurney Plaza last year for the 12th annual vigil to promote awareness about violence against women. File photo

People gathered at McBurney Plaza last year for the 12th annual vigil to promote awareness about violence against women. File photo

VIDEO: Vigil against violence against women relocates in Langley

Event to be held in Fort Langley, will feature “red sand” ceremony

The annual Langley candlelight vigil to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is moving.

Organizers of the event are relocating it from downtown Langley City to Fort Langley in the Township.

Ever since it was started in 2005 by the Ishtar Transition Housing Society and Soroptimist International of the Langleys, the event has been held in McBurney Plaza every year on the 25th of November.

This year, it will take place at the Bedford Landing Plaza in Fort Langley, at 5 p.m., rain or shine.

Soroptimist International of the Langleys Program Chair Shirley Stewart said the move will make it easier for people in other areas of the community to participate.

“We represent all of the Langleys,” Stewart said.

READ MORE: Friday night vigil sheds light on violence against women

Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 will mark the 18th year that activists around the world have observed the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

On that date in 1960, three Mirabal sisters were brutally assassinated.

They were political activists in the Dominican Republic and their deaths were ordered by Dominican ruler Rafeal Trujillo.

The resulting outcry caused the overthrow of the Trujillo regime.

In 1999 the United Nations proclaimed Nov. 25 as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and invited governments and international organizations and NGOs (non-government organizations) to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the ongoing issues of violence against women around the world.

READ MORE: Photo: Lighting Up the Night

The vigil is intended as a reminder that women face violence not just in the Dominican Republic, but in other areas around the world, including Langley.

Last year, dignitaries present at the Langley vigil included Langley MLA Mary Polak, Township Mayor Jack Froese, City Mayor Ted Schaffer, Township fire chief Stephen Gamble, City Councillor Rudy Storteboom, and City Councillor Gayle Martin.

This year’s candlelight vigil will incorporate a Red Sand Ceremony.

The ceremony was created by artist and activist, Molly Gochman at Art Basel, Miami in December 2014.

“The Red Sand Ceremony symbolizes the women who have fallen through the cracks,” Soroptimist International of the Langleys President Roseanne Ham said.

“It isn’t until you actually see the red sand in the cracks of the sidewalk that the reality of the situation becomes clear. It is a very moving ceremony that brings the modern day issues of missing and murdered indigenous women, human trafficking, homeless single (mothers), teens, and women, and domestic violence victims among many other issues, to life.”

Red Sand Project installations and events have taken place in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries around the world.

The Langley candlelight vigil is a free event, open to all ages.

Soroptimist International of the Langleys is an organization of business and professional women who have been working to help improve the lives of women and children in the Langley community through fundraising efforts since 1986.

They can be reached on Facebook by searching for “Soroptimist International of the Langleys.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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In 2016, Township fire chief Stephen Gamble, City Councillor Rudy Storteboom, Langley MLA Mary Polak, Township Mayor Jack Froese, City Mayor Ted Schaffer, and City Councillor Gayle Martin listened to Diane Warawa, wife of Langley MP Mark, speak at McBurney Plaza during Friday night’s vigil to promote awareness about violence against women. File photo

In 2016, Township fire chief Stephen Gamble, City Councillor Rudy Storteboom, Langley MLA Mary Polak, Township Mayor Jack Froese, City Mayor Ted Schaffer, and City Councillor Gayle Martin listened to Diane Warawa, wife of Langley MP Mark, speak at McBurney Plaza during Friday night’s vigil to promote awareness about violence against women. File photo