A remembrance vigil will be held Dec. 5 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the École Polytechnique murders.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a mass murder took place at the Montreal post-secondary school when 14 women were killed. The gunman, Marc Lepine, shot them before turning the gun on himself.
Kwantlen’s memorial hopes to bring awareness to violence against women while honouring the lives of those lost a quarter-century ago.
Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell said she attends every year.
“It’s a day to remember the massacre,” she said. “That was a horrific event that symbolized violence against women.”
Kyla Rand, Kwantlen Faculty Association (KFA) Coordinator of Administrative Services said École Polytechnique is a school similar to Kwantlen
“It’s very near and dear to our hearts,” she said.
Rand said the half-hour memorial at Kwantlen’s Surrey campus, at 12666 72 Ave., organized by the KFA, will begin at noon on Friday.
“We pass out 14 roses to members in the crowd, each representing one of the victims, and each rose is laid down on a plaque,” Rand said. “We also light a candle for each victim and an additional candle to represent all of the victims.”
Hammell added that every woman’s name is read out.
“It’s symbolic of remembering them.”
Hammell said it’s not only important to honour the victims, but to also to look forward and find ways to eliminate violence against women.
“The focus has been on women and girls to find ways to prevent attacks, but that needs to switch to men and boys – we need to teach boys that it’s not okay,”she said.
The YWCA has created two social media campaigns to encourage men and boys to take a stand on violence against women and girls.
They are challenging them take a photo holding a sign with “I say no to violence against women” written on it – then sharing it on social media with the hashtag #ISayNotTo.
The YWCA has also started a #NotOkay campaign, with the hope people will flag content featuring violence against women as being wrong.
Hammell likes the ideas.
“We have to use every media, and social media is a great way to get the word out.”
There will also be a candlelight vigil held at Holland Park Dec. 6 from 4:30–5:30 p.m. in Surrey, which is sponsored by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, West Valley Fraser Area Council and the BC Federation of Labour. For more information, check here.
The community is coming together in various ways to raise awareness of violence against women.
Delta Opposes Violence Everywhere (DOVE) will be holding several events to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre.
On Dec. 5 the group will be at Bursnveiw Secondary, Seaquam Secondary and Delta Senior Secondary schools. Representatives will be providing information and handing out purple ribbons to signal remembrance. The group’s goal is to increase discussions and provide support for violence against women.
On Dec. 6, DOVE will be at Sungod Recreation Centre and the Lander Leisure Centre.
And the YWCA has created a campaign called Light the Night. From Dec. 4-6, community landmarks, such as Telus World of Science, BC Place and Vancouver City Hall, will be lit up red to show support for the National Day of Action on Violence against Women.