Two years after she was gunned down, family and friends are inviting the community to a candlelight vigil for Maple Batalia, the third of its kind since her murder.
Batalia’s older sister, Roseleen, said Monday the event is being broadened this year to shine a spotlight on violence against women in general.
“There’s been a lot of focus on the bad guys, and often the women get left out,” Roseleen said. “We’re really avoiding that in Maple’s case.”
On Sept. 28, 2011, Batalia, 19, an aspiring model, actress and health sciences student, was shot to death in the parkade at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus.
Batalia’s former boyfriend, Gurjinder (Gary) Dhaliwal, was charged with first-degree murder in relation to her death. Gursimar Singh Bedi was charged with manslaughter with a firearm and being an accessory after the fact.
The vigil is less about calling for justice than it is about preventing similar acts of violence from happening again, Roseleen said.
“We want to remember that this is essentially becoming an epidemic,” she said. “As I’m speaking to you right now, there’s woman being abused, a woman being killed, around the world.”
This year’s vigil will also honour the memories of two other women who died in acts of domestic violence: Manjit Panghali and Poonam Randhawa.
Panghali was killed by her husband, while Randhawa was killed by her ex-boyfriend.
“It’s important for us to continue coming together, to not only honour these women, not only remember them, but think of proactive measures of how we can stop this cycle,” Roseleen said.
The public is invited to bring LED lights (because they don’t go out) to the candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Holland Park, at 100 Avenue and King George Boulevard.