By Dec. 6 memorial committee
Special to The Dialog
On Dec. 6 Canadians unite in solidarity, remembering the lives of the fourteen women who were killed 23 years ago because of their gender. On Dec. 6, 1989, an anti-feminist gunman segregated women from men in a classroom at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, declared his hatred and resentment of women and opened fire.
Dec. 6 now stands as Canada’s National Day of Mourning to remember the lives of these fourteen women. We use this day as a catalyst and a platform to educate ourselves about violence against women; we fight to analyze, understand and advocate for radical change regarding the inequalities women experience. This day provides a way to explore the way patriarchy has manifested itself in our society and consequently perpetuated the marginalization of women.
It is a day to come together, women and allies, to honour the perseverance and strength of women and those who have experienced violence.
Accordingly, the theme of this gathering advocates: “It’s not our fault, but it is everyone’s problem”. Women are victims of violence, including sexual violence, every day. But it is important as human beings to recognize the impact that the continued oppression, exploitation, sexualization, and violence that women experience has on not only women, but the climate of our society. It is important for us, as people, to unite across gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, etc., to fight for the rights of those who are oppressed. Violence against women is everyone’s problem – it affects the perceived worth of a woman and it sets expectations for the treatment of women. Sexual violence affects families — mothers, daughters, grandmothers, husbands and children — not in a temporary manner, but for years, for lifetimes. We need to work together to end the violence and bring those who choose to abuse to justice.
All students and faculty are invited to attend the college-wide memorial held on Dec. 3, from 11 a.m.-noon, in room 128 of St. James campus. On this day we will light candles and we connect our spirits to continue to fight for the memories and dreams of the fourteen women who were murdered. We remember, we fight, we carry the memory of our sisters who have gone missing and experienced violence. We are survivors, and together we can achieve great things and make a better place for our daughters, our children, our communities and ourselves. Women and girls should not have to live in fear. Take a stand, have a voice!