Daughters Of Someone Else

Thirty years ago, 14 women were killed because they were women.
   Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t feel the impact:
   Thirty years ago, 14 women were killed because they were women.
   In Canada: in Montreal: thirty years ago, on this day.
   December 6, 1989.
   École Polytechnique. The Montreal Massacre.
   It was more than a mass shooting.
   I remember.
   I remember watching with horror, as details spilled out from the television set throughout that evening. It was sickening.
   I remember.
   I remember thinking of my daughter, not quite three years old at the time.
   I remember thinking these women were all daughters of someone else.
   I remember my tears.
   My daughter has grown up in the deep dark shadow of the Montreal Massacre She might not remember the actual event, but over the past three decades she has learned about what went on, and all that is wrong.
   She knows the significance of this day.
   The world changed that day.
   It has not changed enough.
   I will not take up space today to spit out my thoughts on gun control or public safety.
   I will not criticize today, here, those who continue to exhibit such blatant disregard for my fellow human beings, or the hypocrisy and/or misogyny of those people, or politicians, or corporations who try to hide behind flimsy excuses and transparent policies of diversity and inclusion. Or those who do not do enough to enforce, enhance, and encourage respect in the workplace, our communities, or countries.
   Today is not my day for that.
   Today, in Canada, is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is a day for remembering the event, yes, but more so remembering the vital lives of the women who were hunted down and killed by a single man.
   I also will not, today or ever, utter the name of the killer. I will instead — as I do each year on the anniversary of this senseless tragedy — repeat the names of the 14 women whose lives were snuffed out by hatred, gender discrimination and attitudes which have prevailed in the years since.
   Our daughters, sisters, mothers and lovers face these injustices each day, in a country that prides itself on a satisfying and sufficient way of life.
   Violence against women is still here, it is systematic, and it is wrong.
   We all know it.
   The lives of those women killed, not their deaths, must remain an example. I dislike the popular term ‘Legacy of pain’, but I still feel it.
  These names must not be forgotten:

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

   December 6, 1989.
   This is a sacred day.
   Just as we pause on November 11, to pay respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our way of life in times of war, we must stop whatever we are doing later this day to pause and reflect on those whose lives were taken away, on this day. There must be silence.
   These women did not volunteer or ask for this violence. They lived with it every day, as many do now. Sadly.
   My heart goes out to the families, friends, partners, and loved ones who grieve for these significant women.
   I grieve with you.

   deep peace

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