Members of the community gathered outside Brighouse library on Tuesday morning for a vigil to remember 14 women gunned down in Montreal in 1989.
Tuesday marked the 33rd anniversary of the tragedy, whereby 14 women were shot in an anti-feminist mass shooting at Montreal’s École Polytechnique.
“It was very powerful and moving because there (were) a lot of people there. And it felt like we are so strong together,” said Kelly Sidhu, executive director of the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre (RWRC).
The vigil was organized by the RWRC in collaboration with the University Women's Club of Richmond.
Attendees remembered the lives that were lost by reading out each victim’s name, which included a woman about to pursue her career, a woman who was recently married, friends about to go on vacation and a student who was passionate about improving prosthetics for people.
“Who knows how they would’ve changed the world,” Sidhu said.
Fourteen candles were lit in honour of the victims, followed by a moment of silence.
“There was quite a lot of emotion among the group. And I think it’s close to home for many of us in different ways,” Sidhu said.
This year’s vigil felt “very different” from previous years, said Sidhu, due to an increase in diversity of the nationalities in attendance. She credits it to the ongoing protest movement in Iran.
“With everything that’s happening in the world, Iran being one of the big (events), we’re seeing women coming together more,” she said.
“Women are feeling more empowered all over the world. That’s trickled down into our humble little city of Richmond.”
Today is also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is important to continue to remember what happened in 1989, said Sidhu, because gendered violence is still happening.
“And we are standing strong together year after year after year to say that we’re against this, and we want the world to know it.
“We want the community to know it and recognize that (gendered violence) is happening in our communities,” she said.