Honouring Those Lost in the École Polytechnique Massacre

Honouring Those Lost in the École Polytechnique Massacre

Geneviève Bergeron (21), civil engineering; Hélène Colgan (23), mechanical engineering; Nathalie Croteau (23), mechanical engineering; Barbara Daigneault (22), mechanical engineering; Anne-Marie Edward (21), chemical engineering; Maud Haviernick (29), materials engineering; Barbara Maria Klucznik (31), nursing; Maryse Laganière (25), employee in the budget department; Maryse Leclair (23), materials engineering; Anne-Marie Lemay (27), mechanical engineering; Sonia Pelletier (28), mechanical engineering; Michèle Richard (21), materials engineering; Annie St-Arneault (23), mechanical engineering; and Annie Turcotte (20), materials engineering.

December 6th, 2019 | On this day, thirty years ago, fourteen women at École Polytechnique were the victims of a gender-based, anti-feminist attack. They were targeted as they were all assumed to be engineering students and lost their lives to this vicious act. Today, we remember their names and honour their memories.

The tragic event at École Polytechnique teaches us that violence against women is by no means a thing of the past. It hides in fields that have historically been less diverse. It is made more poignant by preconceived notions of gender roles, and it disproportionately impacts queer, racialized, Indigenous, marginalized faiths, and disabled women. This violence must be condemned at all costs.

Although we, as a society, have a long way to go towards ensuring a world that is just for women, we believe that progress is being made. Just yesterday, thanks to the work of Mélissa Blais and Diane Lamoureux, the text of the plaque at Place du 6-décembre-1989 commemorating the shooting was updated to recognize the attack as an act of antifeminist violence.

Today, we remember and honour the lives lost. Tomorrow, we pledge to work for a future where no person is held back because of their identity. We pledge to work towards ending gender-based violence and ensuring that education and knowledge is inclusive to everyone. A cultural shift this large will not happen overnight, but everyday, people are making the choice to fight gender-based violence, and to fight for a better future.

To commemorate this day, which has been named the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, we invite you to wear your white ribbon, the official symbol for the awareness of violence against women and girls. We also invite you to visit this website, which showcases 30 profiles of engineering alumna who graduated within three years of the massacre, and whose careers exemplify the value that women bring to their field.

The following community-run memorial events will be taking place today:

Commemoration of Polytechnique Tragedy
(McGill University & McGill Faculty of Engineering)
Commémoration de la tragédie de Polytechnique
(Association Ecole Polytechnique [AEP] & 6 decembre 1989)
SACOMSS’ Annual December 6th Vigil
(Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students’ Society)

Resources:
Nightline
Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS)
McGill Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education (OSVRSE)
McGill Student Wellness Hub

Signed,

Taylor Lynn Curtis / Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) Co-President | powe@mcgilleus.ca
Mustafa Fakih / SSMU Engineering Representative | engrep1@ssmu.ca
Bruno Marcoux / SSMU Engineering Representative | engrep2@ssmu.ca
Jeremy Garneau / SSMU Engineering Senator | engineeringsenator@ssmu.ca
Madeline Wilson / Vice-President (University Affairs) | ua@ssmu.ca
Bryan Buraga / President | president@ssmu.ca
Sanchi Bhalla / Vice-President (Internal) | internal@ssmu.ca
Billy Kawasaki / Vice-President (Student Life) | studentlife@ssmu.ca
Sam Haward / Vice-President (Finance) | finance@ssmu.ca
Adam Gwiazda-Amsel / Vice-President (External Affairs) | external@ssmu.ca

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