Sheridan commemorates National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

By Shinead Persaud-Orotal and Raymond Cabbab

Sheridan commemorated the 30th annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women to honour 14 women whose lives were lost as a result of gender-based violence.

Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” was performed and speakers addressed a crowd in Sheridan Trafalgar campus’ SCAET building Friday, December 6 at 10 a.m. Afterward, a portrait of each woman who died in the massacre was placed in Trafalgar’s peace garden and white roses were placed in front of them.

A white rose is placed by the portrait of one of the women who lost their lives in the massacre. Photo courtesy of Sheridan College.

The day is in memory of 14 female engineering students who were murdered at Polytechnique de Montréal on December 6, 1989. In 1991, Canada’s parliament declared December 6 to be National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women to remember the victims and bring awareness to all violence against women.

Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice president of inclusive communities at Sheridan College was one of the speakers and says they have committed to ending violence in all its forms:

“We need to show our solidarity and echo our voice as an institution that says gender-based violence has no place in our community and in the communities around us . . . We have policies, we have an office, we have education, we have resources, and we have support for anyone experiencing any form of sexual violence.”

Sheridan President Dr. Janet Morrison said she was a third-year undergraduate when the massacre happened. Morrison believes that we gather as a community to remember and to remind ourselves of our obligations to do what needs to be done to eradicate gender-based violence across campuses, both individually and collectively.

“I think Sheridan continues to lead on this front, but there’s still lots to be done. Our dare to care work, the staffing that’s now available in our gender-based violence office is certainly moving us in the right direction. But we together as students, as faculty and staff need to recommit every day to deciding that this type of violence, any type of violence just isn’t okay here,” said Morrison.

Jane Ngobia (left, red scarf), Janet Morrison (middle-left, all black), and two other speakers watch as roses are placed in front of the portraits

The day falls within the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, an international campaign that was launched and is coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. The campaign aims to bring awareness to violence against women and reflect on what people can do in their communities to end it. It runs annually from November 25 to December 10.

Former Sheridan student Eve Krogman attended the event in 2016 and has experienced violence herself.

Eve Krogman placing a white rose at the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women at Sheridan in 2016. Photo courtesy Eve Krogman.

“It’s always been important to have a strong support system of people who will listen, care, and fight alongside me for justice, remembrance, and safety,” Krogman says.

A plaque in Sheridan’s peace garden lists the name of all 14 women who died in the Polytechnique Montréal shooting in honour of their memory.