I can't recall when this has happened before; today, I found myself teaching on December 6. It seemed like the right time to raise the issue with my class.
You'll see a line in the text below that links these horrifying events to my students based on their age. It occurred to me today, as I was driving out to the college today, and thinking about what I was about to share with them, that there was another connection.
I was about the same age as the women who were so brutally murdered at École; Polytechnique 27 years ago.
Here are my thoughts:
They were not public servants, although some of them may have ended up sharing the career path to which many of you now aspire.
They were, however, very close to your ages.
They were engineers, administrators, and most importantly…
They were women.
On December 16, 1989, fourteen of them were gunned down in an act of violence that reverberates to this day.
It was truly a watershed moment in my awareness of the violence that so many women face every day.
That awareness continues to evolve, 27 years later.
Like many of their forbears – and certainly mine, and likely some of yours – they were disruptors. And disruptors, while they cause change, can also cause anxiety and worry.
I think we can all agree that violence is never the right answer. To anything.
And yet, on that cold day in 1989, 14 women met a brutal, violent end for no reason other than the fact that they were women.
Today we remember them. We remember their names. And we remember the sacrifice they, and others like them, have made so that we could be here in this room.
Today’s class is dedicated to these women, and to all of those who have suffered or died because of violence in the workplace, in the home, or anywhere else.
If you can, I ask you to rise and join me in a moment of silence for:
- Geneviève Bergeron
- Helene Colgan
- Nathalie Croteau
- Barbara Daigneault
- Anne-Marie Edward
- Maud Haviernick
- Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz
- Maryse Laganière
- Maryse Leclair
- Anne-Marie Lemay
- Sonia Pelletier
- Michèle Richard
- Annie St-Arneault
- Annie Turcotte