Campus Womyn’s Centre Remembers Lives Lost at L’Ecole Polytechnique

The Memorial of Hope displays the names of the 14 women who were murdered in the massacre, with roses placed for each one at the vigil. [Photo by // Samantha Fernandez]

by Samantha Fernandez
The Lance- News Intern

University students and staff came together over the weekend in a solemn remembrance.

A candlelight vigil was held by The University of Windsor’s Womyn’s Centre Dec. 6 at the Memorial of Hope to mark the 25th anniversary of the “Montreal Massacre”.

Theresa Sims, coordinator of the Aboriginal Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program at CanAm Indian Friendship Centre, started the ceremony with a song and speech, which was followed by a procession of women representing each of the 14 women shot and killed by Mark Lepine at L’École Polytechnique, Dec. 6, 1989. A biography of each victim was read by the representatives.

Lepine also wounded 10 women and five men during the rampage before killing himself. His suicide note blamed women for ruining his life.

Amelia Runchey, a general volunteer with the Womyn’s Centre said the vigil, and others held across the country, are important to maintain awareness.

“There is still a lot of violence against women,” Runchney said. “We are doing this as a way to bring awareness in the hopes of ending it. It is also being held in conjunction with National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women declared by Canada’s Parliament in 1991.”

As each woman walked up to the monument, they stated the name and some information about each of the women killed. They also took a rose and placed it on the monument to honour each woman.

Many professors on campus attended the vigil and were deeply affected by the massacre, which happened when they were in university.

John Antoniew, assistant coordinator, said the event is a big part of what the Womyn’s Centre does throughout the year.

“The Womyn’s Centre is a student resource on campus that provides a safe space for all gender identities to come to for resources and for support.” Antoniew said. “We do different events throughout the year such as the Dec. 6 event, and International Women’s Day, so this event is a big part of what we do and shows what our objectives are as an organization and service on campus”.

The ceremony closed with a moment of silence. All in attendance lit a candle in honour of all women suffering or affected by violence.

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