The University of New Brunswick will be hosting memorial events in Fredericton and Saint John today to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and to remember the 14 women killed during the Montreal Massacre on Dec. 6, 1989.
This year marks the 28th anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. Many of these women were engineering students and their lives were taken in an act of gender-based violence.
The Fredericton ceremony, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 5, is being hosted by the UNB Women in Engineering Society. Society president Raiyan Mostofa says the day is about remembering the victims of the massacre, reflecting on violence against women, as well as the support and encouragement of women in fields like science, technology, engineering and math.
“This memorial will commemorate the women killed during the Montreal Massacre, support action against violence committed against women in our society and recognize the importance of women with careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” says Ms. Mostofa.
The Saint John ceremony, set for Wednesday, Dec. 6, was organized by various groups from the university and the greater Saint John community.
Dr. Chris Doran, a professor of sociology at UNB’s Saint John campus, is a member of the organizing committee.
“‘First mourn, then work for change’ – that has been our primary inspiration over the last 28 years of commemorating the 14 women killed in Montreal in 1989,” says Dr. Doran. “But today, in this misogynistic climate, it is more important than ever that we come together on Dec. 6 to renew our commitment to the eradication of gender-based violence.”
The Fredericton ceremony on Tuesday will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the Dineen Auditorium, Head Hall. A reception will follow in Dineen Auditorium.
The ceremony will feature talks from Dr. Carmen Poulin, associate dean of arts on the Fredericton campus, Dr. Lori Leach, a UNB history professor who has a PhD in women’s studies and sociology, and Dr. Katy Haralampides, a civil engineering professor at UNB who actively participates in the Association of University of New Brunswick Status of Women Committee and the Canadian Association of University Teachers Women’s Committee.
Wednesday’s ceremony in Saint John will be held at 7 p.m. at the UNB Grand Hall, King’s Square.
Representatives from the Sexual Assault Response team, the Female Empowerment Movement, the Domestic Violence Outreach program and the Coverdale Centre for Women will all be speaking on current issues affecting women in Saint John and surrounding areas.
Musical offerings will be provided by Brent Mason, Tricia Wilson and Jillian Wong. The evening will end with a short candle-lit vigil from Grand Hall to King’s Square to commemorate the 14 lives lost on Dec. 6, 1989.
Both ceremonies are open to campus communities and the public.
Media contact: Hilary Creamer Robinson
Photo credit: Rob Blanchard / UNB Photo