December 6th Memorial

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to an important memorial that the KFA holds each year at KPU on December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day we give our respects to the 14 women who lost their lives in 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montréal, and the many more who were injured and forever affected by this tragedy.

On December 6 we give special remembrance to all women who have been victims of violence in our communities. But much more than remembering this social ailment, we are called to reaffirm our commitment in standing up and speaking out against gender-based violence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, increased violence against women has been documented around the world, including in our own communities. And so, this year December 6 has added meaning, as the pandemic is working to accelerate violence against women.

A number of local groups are advocating for change in recognizing the severity of gender-based violence. NEVR—the Network to End Violence in Relationships—and other interested parties are urging the people of Canada to sign a petition for the Federal Government to develop a national prevention plan concerning relationship violence. Community organizations, like Battered Women’s Support Services and the Ending Violence Association of BC, not only provide essential front-line help to women experiencing gender-based violence but they also aim to educate the public on the state of violence against women in our communities.

On Sunday, December 6 you are encouraged to hold your own private time of contemplation and remembrance in your home, to memorialize the 14 women from the École Polytechnique in Montreal who were gunned down while furthering their education and working, and to reflect on violence against women in your own community and its tragic outcomes. In the evening, you are also invited to attend a virtual vigil hosted by the New Westminster & District Labour Council. KPU Nursing faculty member and KFA Labour Community Advocate Dr. Balbir Gurm, among other honoured guests, will raise their voices in solidarity against gendered violence in their commemoration of the Montreal Massacre. Advance registration is required for this event, but everyone is welcome.

In remembrance and with hope,

Cherylynn Bassani

Status of Women Representative, Kwantlen Faculty Association