Remembering the École Polytechnique massacre

In Canada, this Friday, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which is informally known as White Ribbon day. It’s a day commemorated to remembering the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre on it’s anniversary, in which 14 women were murdered and ten others injured by a male student in the name of ‘fighting feminism’.

This year will be the 30th anniversary.

It’s important that we take the time each year to remember and honour those 14 women. And while it may be 30 years since this tragedy happened, it’s important to remember that this isn’t just an issue of the past, but an issue of the present, and as we look forward to 2020, an issue of the future, as well.

The day of remembrance was inaugurated in 1991 to make people across the country to face how often violence occurs towards women. In 2019, similar campaigns are being started in order to reach the same goal. For example, the Red Dress project, which serves to have Canadians recognize the ongoing crisis of the missing and murdered indigenous women.

December 6 stands for change and awareness of the power dynamic that exists between men and women across the world. It’s important to think critically and digest what you see – recognizing that something isn’t equal is the one of the easiest forms of activism you can take. When you fail to see the inequality, it becomes normalized and can continue to exist.

This year, I would like to challenge people to add another layer to that. Recognize that there also exists an imbalance between women as well.

Aboriginal women are six times more likely to be killed than non-Aboriginal women, and are two and a half times more likely to be victims of violence. Women living with physical or cognitive impairment experience violence two to three times more often than their able bodied and minded counterparts, with 60 per cent of women with disabilities experience some form of violence.

30 years ago, one man shot 24 women, killing 14 just because they were women. While progress has been made since then, the job isn’t done. On December 6, make sure to take a moment to remember those who perished on that day, and to continue to push the conversation.