Family marches for Tyeshia and others like her

Family marches for Tyeshia and others like her

Howard Jim and his mom

More than 4,000 kilometres separates Vancouver and Ottawa.

Most would prefer to fly the distance, or perhaps drive.

But Arlene Jim and her son, Howard, are walking.

They’re among dozens crossing the country on foot to raise awareness about Canada’s missing and murdered women.

It’s an issue far too close for comfort for the Cowichan family.

Arlene Jim’s niece — and Howard Jim’s cousin — is Tyeshia Jones, the 18-year-old Duncan girl murdered in January.

The family is still coming to grips with their tragic loss, but the Jims hope the Walk4Justice can help.

“I want to do this for my cousin Tyeshia and the whole Jim family,” Howard Jim said. “I think this walk will help us — we’ll find ourselves somewhere out there, and it will bring healing.”

“It means a lot to me for them to be able to step up and take this long journey for me and my daughter Tyeshia, and for women across Canada,” said Mary Jim, Tyeshia’s mother.

She’ll remain in Cowichan, waiting for truth and justice for her daughter.

“I just want the community to continue to work together,” she added. “This could have been anyone’s child — I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. And the killer, or killers, are still out there.”

Sadly, the Jim family’s experience is not unique — which is why so many are walking to Parliament Hill between June 21 and Sept. 19.

Laurie Harding, for example, is a valley woman who’s walking part of the way — Vancouver to Kamloops — in honour of her cousin’s 15-year-old daughter, Loren Donn Leslie, who was murdered Nov. 17 on a remote logging road between Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.

In fact, a convoy of vehicles escorting the Walk4Justice walkers will display photos of Jones, Leslie, and Duncan’s Karrie Ann Stone, who was killed last year and whose murder is still unsolved.

“If other families of missing and murdered women would like us to walk for their loved ones, they can contact me at 250-710-4495 or laurie.harding@shaw.ca and I will try to get photos to the walkers any time during the walk,” Harding said.

Local Walk4Justice participants left Cowichan on Monday, and aim to arrive in Kamloops on Saturday.

The 91-day journey is supported by everyone from Cowichan Tribes to the Little Raven Dancers, and Cowichan Tribes Chief Lydia Hwitsum personally bought the local walkers’ first pair of sneakers for the journey.

As for Arlene and Howard Jim, they don’t seem at all nervous about the long journey ahead of them.

“I just felt this is what I needed to do for Tyeshia and for my sister, and for everyone out there who needs it,” Arlene Jim said.

“I finish what I start — I’ll go all the way.”

To support the Walk4Justice, visit www.rememberoursisterseverywhere.com