Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

This Saturday, December 6, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal and a National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women.

On Saturday, we remember that the women who were killed had names, families, friends and lives full of promise. They were:

Genevieve Bergeron, age 21. Helene Colgan, age 23. Nathalie Croteau, age 23. Barbara Daigneault, age 22. Anne-Marie Edward, age 21. Maud Haviernick, age 29. Barbara Maria Klucznik, age 31. Maryse Laganiere, age 25. Maryse Leclair, age 23. Anne-Marie Lemay, age 27. Sonia Pelletier, age 28. Michele Richard, age 21. Annie St-Arneault, age 23. Annie Turcotte, age 21.

Their lives were taken 25 years ago when a man entered the School of Engineering at l’École Polytechnique. He went to several classrooms, saying to women, “you have no right being here” He separated them from the men, he then murdered these women. In his suicide letter he wrote: “I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.” 

When remembering these women, let us remember also this is a day of action. This tragedy reaffirmed the need to change our culture to ensure that women are accorded full respect as colleagues,  leaders and human beings, and that violence against women is deemed unacceptable.

More action is sorely needed. At least 1,122 indigenous women have been murdered or have gone missing in Canada since 1980. Several women have gone missing between Prince Rupert and Prince George along the Highway of Tears. Joint research conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress and Western University found that one third of workers surveyed experienced domestic violence. Of those, 82 per cent said the violence negatively affected their work performance, almost 40 per cent said it kept them from getting to work, and for nearly 10 per cent it meant losing their job.

But women continue to take on leadership roles in society, in families, in politics and at work. Irene Lanzinger was recently elected the first woman president to the BC Federation of Labour. Action and advocacy continues through the BC Fed’s Standing Women’s Committee, as well as MoveUP’s own Women’s Rights Committee and Human Rights Committee. These leaders are all committed to doing the work to make societal change by keeping women’s rights and issues at the forefront of the agenda.

This Saturday women and their allies will come together in communities across Canada to honour the 14 women killed 25 years ago, and pledge again to stop violence against women and recommit to equality for all. Join in at one of the event below. If you know of an event in your community not listed here, please email RKronebusch@moveuptogether.ca

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women - Candlelight Vigil
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014 - 16h00 - 18h00
Location: Holland Park - on Dallas Road between S. Turner & Government St., Victoria, BC
For more information, please click here.

End Violence Against Women 4th Annual Candlelight Vigil
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014 - 04:30 to 06:00
Host: PSAC; West Fraser Valley Area Council; BCFED
Location:  Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey BC
For more information, please click here.

December 6th Memorial Vigil
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Location: Plaza in front of the Comox Valley Art Gallery, 580 Duncan Ave., Courtenay.
For more information, please call 250-897-0511 or click here.

In solidarity and remembrance,

Rysa Kronebusch and Susan Orr
Women's Rights Committee co-chairs