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50 years later: Militant Mothers of Raymur honoured for rail blockade victory – BC

It’s been greater than 5 many years since a gaggle of largely single moms from East Vancouver efficiently fought town and two railways for a protected crossing for his or her youngsters.

Delayed by over one 12 months as a result of pandemic, the Militant Mothers of Raymur held a group occasion Saturday to rejoice the 50th anniversary of their grassroots win.

“There’s tremendous solidarity amongst the women who stood in the end together,” Carolyn Jerome instructed Global News Saturday.

“That was really nice and something you don’t forget.”

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Pedestrians utilizing the overpass between Keefer Street and Raymur Avenue in Strathcona could not notice that with the ability to safely cross the neighbourhood tracks, was a hard-fought victory.

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“I just remember me and Carolyn coming home after a PTA meeting,” recalled Sheila Turgeon Saturday.

“And we both said look, what about these tracks.”

When the Raymur Place Housing undertaking was inbuilt 1970, the Canadian National and Great Northern rail tracks between the social housing advanced and Admiral Seymour Elementary two blocks east have been extremely energetic.

Kids have been compelled to dodge freight trains on their option to college.

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“We saw them climbing under the trains to go to school, so we knew it was a danger,” Turgeon instructed Global News.

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The moms of Raymur requested town of Vancouver and the rail firms for a pedestrian overpass.

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After months of inaction and guarantees trains wouldn’t run when college students have been strolling to and from college, some 25 ladies together with Turgeon and Jerome, took direct motion.

On Jan. 6, 1971, the moms stood on the tracks and blocked oncoming trains, successfully shutting down the railroad.

Archival video captured Jerome confronting a CN rail official and demanding a decision.

“We want some honest proof that these time schedules are going to be kept. And were not leaving until that’s done,” Jerome mentioned on Jan. 6, 1971.

After three blockades and a court docket ruling of their favour, the moms obtained their overpass, and saved vigil on the tracks till building started in March 1971.

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“It makes me feel proud that we stood up and we said this is important, it’s going to happen and were going to make it happen,” Jerome recalled.

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“It’s really great to fight for something and win,” added Turgeon.

Former MLA Shane Simpson grew up within the Raymur Place Housing undertaking and mentioned the victory helped form his political profession and appreciation for social justice.

“It’s just really a great story about women who did not have power taking power in order to make their community better and to protect their families,” Simpson instructed Global News.

“I was inspired by that.”

The pedestrian bridge continues to be standing as we speak and utilized by college students and group members. The metropolis has renamed it Militant Mothers of Raymur Overpass.

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“I’m very proud to have been part of that,” Turgeon mentioned.

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“I hope that everybody who wants to change things uses that as an example.”

More than half a century later, Jerome and Turgeon joined three of the opposite unique moms who fought for change, Jean Amos, Barbara Burnet, and Muggs Sigurgeirson, on stage at ‘Militant Mother’s Day.’

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation honoured the ladies with a ‘Places That Matter’ plaque for his or her timeless act of civil disobedience.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Turgeon mentioned.

As she marked the milestone anniversary, Jerome mentioned she was excited about the moms who couldn’t make it.

“Three times we thought we won,” mentioned Jerome.
“And the third time we did win.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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