VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Friends of slain prostitute gather to mourn her and 'too many' others
'We're here to show that she is loved,' says friend of Ellie May Meyer
May 21, 2005
EDMONTON - To some, she was just another sacrifice to the streets -- a faceless, nameless working girl who got into the wrong car.
To others she had a name: Ellie May Meyer, with a face, heart and friends who cared about her.
CREDIT: John Lucas, The Journal
Cheryl Burd, left, is comforted by Kristi McQuade during a memorial rally Friday at Churchill Square for Ellie May Meyer and other city prostitutes who have been killed in recent years.
Some of those friends gathered at Winston Churchill Square Friday to attend a memorial rally held to mourn her death and recognize other slain prostitutes.
"Too many women have died," said Martin Garber-Conrad, chief executive officer of the Edmonton Community Foundation. "The murder of innocent people strains the social fabric of our city."
More than 100 people listened as he spoke. A few wept. Some wore black and green ribbons, which symbolized grief and hope.
Meyer's body was discovered May 6 in a field east of Edmonton. The 33-year-old's name is the 12th on the list of city prostitutes taken from the streets and left dead in rural areas over the last 16 years.
"How can we have hope in this time of grief?" Garber-Conrad asked. "Our hope comes from the idea that we can work together as a community to stop the killing."
Throughout the memorial many said that, regardless of lifestyle, no one deserves to die in such a violent fashion.
"All women are precious," said Don Langford, executive director of Metis Child and Family Services. "They are all someone's lover, sister, mother and friend. They are cherished and cared about by many."
Meyer certainly was.
Longtime friends Kristy, 17, and Janice, 15, wore the green and black ribbons and held candles they intended to keep in memory of Meyer. Both first learned about her death in the newspaper.
"No matter what she did on the streets, she was a good person inside," Janice said. "We're here to show that she is loved,"
Melissa, 26, met Meyer when she was a little girl, and knew her well.
"She was a beautiful person, inside
and outside," she said. "She was a really good friend. She would give you the shirt off her back if she could."
Meanwhile, Edmonton Police Supt. Ed McFarlane had a special message for prostitutes.
"I urge you to avail yourself of the programs out there and begin to confront those barriers that prevent you from leaving this lifestyle behind," he said.
"We will continue to work with our community partners to explore ways of intervening, diverting and rehabilitating those individuals who by the very nature of their lifestyle, are exposed daily to danger. We will not give up on you."
© The Edmonton Journal 2005
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Updated: January 01, 2007