Vancouver’s Militant Mothers of Raymur to be honoured Saturday

More than two dozen moms from East Vancouver, who fought City Hall and two powerful railway companies to get a pedestrian overpass built, are being honoured this weekend.  The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is presenting a Places That Matter plaque to the Militant Mothers of Raymur Overpass on Saturday.

The moms fought the city as well as the Canadian National and Burlington Northern railways to have the structure built so children from the nearby Raymur housing project could safely cross over a busy set of railway tracks to their neighbourhood elementary school.

“We needed to do something. Petitions hadn’t worked, phone calls hadn’t worked,” remembers Militant Mother Carolyn Jerome. “And we decided to take ourselves to the railroad tracks and stop the trains.  We felt like we had to do something to get the attention of the people in charge.”

“I came up with this idea of a tent, a small group of us, we had to put something on the tracks to stay there until it got resolved.  We had the tent there, we were set up, and we were staying,” she says.  “We felt the safety of our children was important, more important than the operations of the railway line.”

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Not trusting the City of Vancouver, Jerome and the other moms held a vigil on the tracks until construction of the overpass finally began in March 1971.  The rest, as they say, is history.

“So, this is really a celebration of solidarity.  Of what it looks like when a community comes together,” Jerome says.  “Because in the end when we got that overpass, we had a lot of support from the community, and we were just so very grateful to have won this.”

The Militant Mothers of Raymur Overpass is the 91st Places That Matter plaque.  The initiative, which recognizes the lesser-known people, places, events that helped shape Vancouver, was started in 2011 to mark the city’s 125th anniversary.

The plaque presentation and community celebration happen on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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