A small crowd gathered in the rain at the Nelson cenotaph on Dec. 6 to commemorate the 14 women killed in the 1989 anti-feminist massacre at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.
As Const. Sophie McLean of the RCMP read out the name of each of the murdered women, a red rose was placed on the cenotaph.
Photos and the names of the 14 women were also displayed along the fences at the courthouse and the cenotaph.
After the 14 roses were laid, attendees were invited to lay roses for someone in their lives who has experienced gender-based violence.
Dec. 6 is nationally recognized as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The Nelson event was hosted by Nina Hamilton, a police-based victim services worker with Nelson Police Department and Nelson RCMP and also a member of the Nelson Violence Against Women in Relationships Committee.
She said the theme of this year’s campaign in Canada is “listen, learn, act,” which addresses key steps to tackling gender- based violence.
“‘Listen’ refers to supporting survivors who share their experience and to the experts that work in the front lines,” Hamilton said. “‘Learn’ encourages us to educate ourselves on what gender-based violence is, how to spot and prevent it. ‘Act’ is for taking the information and applying it to our daily lives.”
Nelson City Councillor Leslie Payne told the group that she remembers the 1989 massacre.
“The following year the eldest of my four daughters was born,” she said. “It’s a very emotional moment to think through what has happened in their lives, the lack of progress. How do we move this forward?
“With all of us here representing the change that we can envision throughout the world, and standing in solidarity, I believe in my heart, because I have to believe, that change is possible and we can bring it about.”