‘We need to continue action’: Manitobans to hold vigil to honour victims of Polytechnique Massacre

People attend the inauguration of a new sign at Dec. 6th Park commemorating the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique attack where a lone gunman killed 14 female students Thursday, December 5, 2019 in Montreal. The new sign now mentions that it was an attack against women and feminists.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz.

A Manitoba group will be honouring those who died in the École Polytechnique massacre 32 years ago.

Fourteen women died and 14 others were injured after being shot by an antifeminist on Dec. 6, 1989.

Dec. 6 is now known as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Leah Wilson, co-chair of advocacy for the Institute for International Women’s Rights Manitoba, says while progress has been made for gender equality since the tragic event, there’s still lots of work to do.

“We need to continue action and progress to work toward gender equality and ending gender-based violence — also, creating an awareness to end micro-aggressions and other small ways we show gender disparity and gender inequity in our lives,” Wilson said.

Read more: Feminism met gunfire at École Polytechnique. It’s taken 30 years to call it what it was

Story continues below advertisement

Wilson added over the course of the pandemic, gender-based violence has been an issue.

“Many have termed it a ‘shadow pandemic.’ We saw girls, women and gender diverse people were in vulnerable and precarious situations when lockdowns went into effect. It happened at home and those in domestic caregiving roles,” Wilson said.

The Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters recently told Global News Morning that shelters have seen an uptake of women looking to flee situations as COVID-19 restrictions eased, causing some shelters to near their capacities. The association said community partners are working together to ensure there’s a space for everyone who needs it.

Wilson told Global News there’s a way for everyone to be an ally against gender inequality.

Read more: Empty Manitoba family shelters expected to fill up as coronavirus restrictions loosen

“We need to recognize that gender equality is something that empowers and can work for all peoples. That’s why we are taking Dec. 6 to recognize that gender equality empowers not only people who it disproportionately impacts, but everyone in our society,” Wilson told Global News.

The Institute for International Women’s Rights Manitoba will be holding a vigil Monday at the Legislature at 5:30 p.m. to bring awareness to gender-based violence.

Story continues below advertisement

People are welcome to attend in person. Face masks and physical distancing will be required. A virtual ceremony will also take place at the same time for those unable to make it. Full details are located in a post on Facebook.

If you’re experiencing gender-based, sexual or domestic violence, call the provincial crisis line at 1-877-977-0007 or text 204-792-5302 or 204-805-6682 for support and shelter options. Free transportation to an emergency shelter is available.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Sponsored content