Vernon’s annual candlelight vigil to commemorate all murdered and missing Indigenous women and the 14 female engineering students murdered in 1989 at the L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal returns Wednesday.
Taking place Dec. 5 at Kal View Cafe on the Vernon campus of Okanagan College, the vigil aims to honour all women who have experienced abuse and shine a light on violence against women.
Though there is a lot of disagreement about the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, RCMP acknowledge that Indigenous women and girls face a greater risk of violence and homicide in Canada.
The École Polytechnique massacre was a mass shooting at the engineering school in Montreal, Quebec on Dec. 6, 1989. Marc Lépine, 25, specifically targeted women at the school, claiming feminists had ruined his life. He shot 28 people, killing 14 women and himself.
While the candlelight ceremony is set to begin at 6 p.m., a 77-minute documentary about Polytechnique will begin at 4 p.m. Michael Ochoa will also be performing a smudging ceremony at 5:45 p.m. Refreshments that will be served around the same time and the table will remain open until after the ceremony.
Co-sponsored by the Vernon Students’ Association and Okanagan College Aboriginal Services, organizers said that anyone with hand-drums and a strong voice who would like to attend would be very appreciated. They also suggest people bring warm clothing for the outdoor candle-light gathering, which is expected to last about five minutes.
Those interested but are unable to attend can also visit a display honouring women who experience violence at Okanagan College Library Services.
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