A hundred people gathered Tuesday evening at Place Émilie-Gamelin, in Montreal, in memory of Joyce Echaquan who lost his life after being insulted by medical staff at the Joliette hospital on September 28, 2020.
Joyce Echaquan’s family, along with several health workers, were present for the vigil, in an effort to demand justice and fairness for Indigenous peoples.
“We have to work together to deconstruct prejudices. We must work together for a better future, so that my children are not afraid to receive public services and are not afraid to hold the hand of those who are not indigenous ”affirmed Constant Awashish, Grand Chief of the Council. of the Atikamekw Nation, during the vigil.
They call for the adoption of Joyce’s Principle, which “aims to guarantee to all Indigenous people a right of equitable access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services, as well as the right to enjoy the best possible quality of life. physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health ”.
In the past year, hundreds of midwives, doctors, acupuncturists, nurses, psychologists have supported the call to endorse Joyce’s principle, supported the “Uni.es pour Joyce” coalition.
“Despite the significant support of the federal government, universities, professional orders and associations in the health sector, the government of Quebec refuses to recognize the existence of systemic racism and to adopt the Joyce Principle”, lamented the collective.
“Joyce’s memory must not be eroded. The door she opened is too important, she cannot have died in vain. We owe it to him to continue to fight to break down prejudices and tackle injustices. We ask everyone to participate in order to bring back to the fore the fight towards justice and equity ”, had affirmed a few days earlier the spouse of Mr.me Echaquan, Carol Dubé, in a press release posted on the Facebook page of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan.
The vigil ended with a flight of lanterns.
A day of commemoration
A ceremony took place at the end of the morning, in front of the Joliette hospital, in the presence of Joyce Echaquan’s family, accompanied by several members of the Atikamekw community.
The Lanaudière Native Friendship Center also organized a vigil in memory of the victim at 6 p.m. in Joliette.
Several activities also took place Tuesday in the village of Manawan, in the heart of the Lanaudière forest, where “only essential and commercial services” will be open. The Atikamekw Council has decreed a day off for all its staff.
The Bishop of Joliette, Mgr Louis Corriveau, also invites the population to a commemorative celebration on October 2 at 4 p.m. at Joliette Cathedral.
With Suzanne Colpron, Press