Queen's commemorates lives lost at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal
By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer
Staff, students and faculty filled the atrium in Beamish-Munro Hall and lined overlooking balconies to attend a memorial commemorating the 24th anniversary of the l’École Polytechnique shooting, and mark what has become Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
The memorial included an address by Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, with refreshments and fellowship following the event.
Guest speaker, Julie McLachlan, gave a speech about her experiences being a female engineering student at Queen’s at the time of the shooting. Ms. McLachlan is currently the Director of Laboratory Services at GreenCentre Canada, a company based in Innovation Park at Queen’s.
Fourteen women held red roses and lit candles while saying a few words about each of the women who lost their lives 24 years ago. Members of the audience donned white ribbons as a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Emily Townshend, Memorial Coordinator for the Engineering Society, led the organization of the ceremony.
“Coordinating this event is my duty, honour, and pleasure. I have never connected on a personal level to any tragedy except for the Montreal Massacre. Twelve women were denied a future, denied the opportunity to wear the iron ring, for no other reason than that they were female engineering students, exactly like me,” says Miss Townshend, a third year engineering student. “Fourteen women were slaughtered because of their gender, because someone felt that being female made them expendable. I believe they did not die in vain.”
"I look around at my male peers, this community of people I have come to call family, and I have hope for a time where sexism isn't an issue," says Miss Townshend. "I may yet to live to see a future in which violence against women is unthinkable. But we cannot forget that it has happened before. I demand that it never happens again."