Islanders pay tribute to Polytechnique victims, oppose gender-based violence
'It's all of our concern, it's all of our issue, to make our community safer for everyone'
People from across P.E.I. gathered to remember and honour the 14 women killed in Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989.
Wednesday also marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
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The service was held at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, where candles were lit to honour the 14 victims:
- Geneviève Bergeron, civil engineering student.
- Hélène Colgan, mechanical engineering student.
- Nathalie Croteau, mechanical engineering student.
- Barbara Daigneault, mechanical engineering student.
- Anne-Marie Edward, chemical engineering student.
- Maud Haviernick, materials engineering student.
- Maryse Laganière, budget clerk.
- Maryse Leclair, materials engineering student.
- Anne-Marie Lemay, mechanical engineering student.
- Sonia Pelletier, mechanical engineering student.
- Michèle Richard, materials engineering student.
- Annie St-Arneault, mechanical engineering student.
- Annie Turcotte, materials engineering student.
- Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, nursing student.
The ceremony also remembered the 10 women who have been murdered on P.E.I. since 1989 and recognized missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
Michelle Jay, purple ribbon campaign coordinator for the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, told CBC News: Compass that the day is important and should be observed as a day of action against gender-based violence.
"It's very important to us and it's very important to all Canadians to remember that day," she said.
"Were not going to forget. We need to mourn but we also need to use the day to act for change."
She said in the 28 years since the killings in Montreal, Canada has certainly made progress in reducing gender-based violence, but there's still a long way to go.
"There is a comfort and a strength in being together, but also that we're saying that we're not going to forget and we will continue to recommit ourselves to end violence against women," she said.
Jay also brought attention to the positive role men have taken in addressing male violence as well as the many Indigenous women across Canada that have fought for decades for missing and murdered women.
"That together with movements like #MeToo is really having an impact and making it very clear that this is not just a women's issue, or pockets of society, it's all of our concern, it's all of our issue, to make our community safer for everyone."
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