Students gathered at the Student Commons to pay their respects to the victims of gendered violence on the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre.
Some students stopped at the booth to ask what was happening and were shocked to learn of the massacre that happened 33 years ago.
On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women were killed at L’École Polytechnique in Montreal after a gunman entered the school citing he was there to fight feminism.
The anniversary of the shooting has been designated the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Project Lighthouse, the college’s sexual harm reduction organization, hosted the memorial.
Sarah Crawford, the manager of sexual violence prevention, harm reduction and wellness for Algonquin College, organized the event.
“It is important to acknowledge the fact that gendered violence has not ended and that we still see lots of gendered violence in our community,” said Crawford. “Whether being sexual assault or intimated partner violence.”
The event had a postcard station for individuals to write a pledge to themselves as to what they can do to end gendered violence. The postcards will be mailed to them on International Women’s Day on March 8.
Students also had an opportunity to leave their marks on a collective art piece, which had 14 roses for each of the victims. The art piece will be hung at The Beacon, a peer support centre at the college.
Taylor Hogle, a community and justice services student who volunteered at the event, explained why she participated. “We want to raise awareness since a lot of people don’t even know this happened,” she said.
Jackie Tenute, the college’s Indigenous counsellor, started the ceremony with a traditional Indigenous smudging to help get rid of the negative energy.
The event concluded with a walk accompanied by Indigenous drums and the singing of the Indigenous strong women song while volunteers held pictures of the victims.