Montreal – December 2, 2015 – A commemorative plaque stands as a permanent fixture on the grounds of Montreal’s École Polytechnique, on which engraved along with the date December 6, 1989, are the names of 14 women who each carried with them the goal of pursuing engineering degrees.
While this memorial serves as a powerful annual reminder of the broad impact of gender-based violence, to these women’s families it also represents the lost lives of their daughters and friends by the shot of a gun, and the rage of a man fuelled with hate.
December 6th was declared by the Parliament of Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in 1991. The day of observance was officially declared to remember and honour the memories of the Montreal massacre victims, and to also acknowledge the approximately 3,400 other women in Canada whose names currently form part of a national femicide list – including at least 1,200 indigenous women whose murders or disappearance are to be the subject of an inquiry promised by the new federal government.
Solidarity is defined as “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.” At vigils and memorials across Canada, December 6 will be a day of remembrance – and an annual renewal for all to stand in solidarity throughout the year to take positive action to eliminate violence against women.