by Silviu Riley

The First United Church’s annual gathering to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on Dec. 6 will be especially meaningful this year as it will fall on the 25th anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre.

“This event in some form or another has been in place since the 1989 massacre of 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. That tragedy affected people across Canada and around the world. There was profound shock, and the event drew attention to the daily experience of violence that many women and girls face in their homes and on the streets,” said Marika Morris, an Adjunct Research Professor at the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University and event volunteer.

The gathering will also acknowledge the women and girls who died in the National Capital Region in the past year, including many murdered and missing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women.

Donations will be accepted for Oshki Kizis Lodge, a local shelter for Indigenous women and children fleeing abuse. There will be drumming by the Minwaashin drummers and Peace Flame drummers. Students from Nunavut Sivuniksavut will also perform Inuit throat-singing.

“The song at the end is usually one that restores our energy, that confirms that we are not alone – we are a community of people dedicated to positive change, giving us the inspiration to go forward to help others, change structures and institutions that allow violence to continue, and to prevent violence each in our own ways.” said Morris.

The First United Church is located at 347 Richmond Road, near Churchill Avenue. The gathering is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., and end at 9 p.m.

This article first appeared in the Leveller, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Nov/Dec 2014).