A new memorial for the 14 women killed in the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre was ignited on Oct. 6 at UBCO, sparking discussion about violence against women in Kelowna and around the world.
The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was instituted after an armed man walked into an engineering class at a university in Quebec. He told all the men to leave and then opened fire on the women in the class, killing 14 and injuring 10.
On this day we remember:
• Geneviève Bergeron;
• Hélène Colgan;
• Nathalie Croteau;
• Barbara Daigneault;
• Anne-Marie Edward;
• Maud Haviernick;
• Maryse Laganière;
• Maryse Leclair;
• Anne-Marie Lemay;
• Sonia Pelletier;
• Michèle Richard;
• Annie St-Arneault;
• Annie Turcotte;
• Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
During the 14 Not Forgotten Memorial, UBCO unveiled the firebowl. The statue is a collaborative piece, titled For Future Matriarchs thatwas created by Syilx artist Krista-Belle Stewart and Secwépemc artist Tania Willard.
Willard said that during the creation of the piece she reflected on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous women in North America, and the women in Iran and around the world who are fighting for equality.
The firebowl reads “we light this fire to remember them,” to commemorate all women that have been lost to violence.
“This gives us something to visualize and to gather around, and to have an action, like lighting the fire. I hope that everyone goes away and thinks about ways that we can increase attendance for women at university, that we can support women’s choices in life, in love, in community, and in whichever ways women chose,” said Willard.
Willard said that in addition to remembering those women lost in the misogynistic massacre more than 30 years ago, she also wants people to reflect on violence against women facets and enact change.
The Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women serves as a reminder of gender-based violence against women in Canada and around the world, that persists today.
“The issue is not an issue just of the past, it is an issue of the present and the future… it’s not just a women’s problem, it’s not just a feminist problem,” said Sabine Weyand, associate professor of teaching at UBCO, School of Engineering.