Dec. 5, 2019

Campaign to end gender-based violence reminds us the work isn’t finished

Dec. 6 memorial event will honor victims of Montreal Massacre

This Friday, Dec. 6, the University of Calgary community will mark the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre by observing the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This event, held annually at UCalgary, commemorates the 14 women who were murdered on Dec. 6, 1989, at L’École Polytechnique in Montreal.

“Every year, I’m reminded of how important this memorial is to our community,” says Debbie Bruckner, chair of the Dec. 6 event advisory committee. “It provides a genuine moment for all of us to reflect and to commit to end gender-based violence.”

The memorial ceremony is an annual reminder that, as a community, the work to end violence against women and girls isn’t finished. Thirty years have passed since the misogynist act of violence that claimed the lives of 14 women, but appalling acts of violence against women in Canada are still the norm and not an exception. The annual event acts as a catalyst to inspire us to do what we can to bring an end to gender-based violence.

This year’s memorial event takes place from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. in the main atrium of the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex (ENG 122) — a location that was chosen to honour the fact that 12 of the 14 women being remembered on this day were engineering students.

The address at this year’s event will be given by Geeta Sankappanavar, UCalgary Board of Governors chair. Sankappanavar is co-founder and president of Grafton Asset Management. She is recognized as an international thought leader, an unrelenting advocate for women’s equality and a committed philanthropist. She has been honoured as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People and Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40.

Laura Hynes and Stephen Demaer from the School of Creative and Performing Arts will provide music. Hynes is an assistant professor of voice and opera. Her 2012 project, Raise Your Voice, launched a successful and continually evolving body of work addressing social justice issues through staged recitals. She is currently the principal investigator for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant on transgender voice transition called The Key of T. Demaer is an undergraduate student in his second year of a Bachelor of Music degree and an active studio teacher in Calgary in guitar, piano and music theory.

Campus Security will light the candles for the ceremony. The event is open to the public and will also be live-streamed.

The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) will be selling handmade beeswax candles at the event to help fund vital programming to end gender-based violence. The candles are made each year by campus community members, including students, staff and faculty. They will be sold for $5 a pair from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dec. 6 memorial event. The WRC will be selling candles at different locations around campus after the event. For candle sale locations and time, visit the candle sale page on the WRC website. 

Learn more about the Dec. 6 event.