The 14 women murdered during the Montreal Massacre 23 years ago were honoured today as 14 red roses were placed in a circle at a vigil held at Northwest Community College in Prince Rupert.
On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lepine entered an engineering class at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal with a rifle and separated male students from females. Lepine told the nine women present he was fighting feminism before taking fire, killing six of them. The gunman proceeded to travel throughout the school targeting women before turning the gun on himself. In the end he had taken the lives of 14 women.
Groups all across Canada, including the North Coast Transition Society in Prince Rupert, hold annual vigils to honour the women who were murdered simply because of their gender. Nation-wide events also aim to raise awareness on the ongoing issue of violence against women.
“If Dec. 6 is nothing but a vigil than the death of those 14 women has no meaning… We need to make the commitment that when we leave we will work all year to end violence against women,” Christine White from the North Coast Transition Society said at the vigil.
“Thousands are abused physically, emotionally and sexually. Countless children are affected by what happens to their mothers.”
People in attendance at Thursday’s vigil lit candles and shared a moment of silence before speakers and musicians presented to the crowd.
The Canadian Parliament declared Dec. 6 as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in 1991 to commemorate the lives lost at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989.