‘First mourn, then work for change’

December 6, 2008 by  

A red rose is laid in memory of one of the victims of the Ecole Polytechnic slayings in 1989. (Nick Major photo)

A red rose is laid in memory of one of the victims of the Ecole Polytechnic slayings in 1989. (Nick Major photo)

It was 19 years ago today, but it could easily have been yesterday.

Saturday, Dec. 6, marks the 19th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women were gunned down at the Ecole Polytechnique engineering school in Montreal. Since the early 1990s, that day has been commemorated across the country as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Friday, members of the Kwantlen Faculty Association and women’s legal support group West Coast LEAF held a small memorial service in the rotunda of the Richmond campus. Shereen Hassan, chair of the Status of Women Committee of the KFA, began the memorial by calling on everyone to reflect on the continuing issue of violence against women-not just the Montreal Massacre, but also the women missing over the years from the Downtown Eastside.

Hasaan stood behind a table with 14 small tea-light candles and roses, each representing one of the women killed in the Montreal Massacre.   

“The Kwantlen Faculty Association’s message at these memorials is ‘First Mourn, then Work for Change,’” Hassan read to the small crowd, as she then encouraged those present to consider volunteering at places such as a women’s group and transition house or women’s centre, or to support charities that help battered women.

Hasaan was joined by Deanna Ogle and Amanda Macgregor, members of the women’s legal support group WestCoast LEAF, during the candle-lighting ceremony.

The 14 roses on display outnumbered the small audience, however. Only eight people stopped to take part in the ceremony, with most holding two roses each.

Similar memorials were held simultaneously at the Surrey and Langley campuses, and Thursday at the Cloverdale campus.


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