Posted on December 10, 2010 by Tia Lalani

From Laurie Callsen, Camrose Canadian/Sun Media: Augustana students mark anniversary of Montreal university massacre

By Laurie Callsen –

As cold feet stood in the snow, 14 names rang out across the Augustana quad.

Geneviève Bergeron. Hélène Colgan. Nathalie Croteau. Barbara Daigneault. Anne-Marie Edward. Maud Haviernick. Maryse Laganière. Maryse Leclair. Anne-Marie Lemay. Sonia Pelletier. Michèle Richard. Annie St-Arneault. Annie Turcotte. Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

These women were killed on Dec. 6, 1989 when a gunman entered the École Polytechnique at the Université de Montréal. Marc Lépine killed 13 students and one staff member, stating he was "fighting feminism." He later turned the gun on himself.

"On Dec. 6, 1989, on the last day of classes for the fall term, 14 women, 13 engineering students and one employee, were singled out, shot and killed. Dec. 6 represents the anniversary of the Montreal massacre, especially for us who spend our days in the purposeful and relatively peaceful pursuit of knowledge. Let us remember the fragility of life," read Amy Wilheim, before a moment of silence for the victims was recognized.

"It’s good to bring awareness to everyone. Just walking around campus wearing this placard, people asked me questions… it’s good for people to know what has happened in the past," said third year math and physics student Samantha Rodrigues, who wore the name of Maud Haviernick. The women were killed and 10 others were injured because Lépine perceived them to be feminists, as the women were studying engineering.

While it may seem like the attack in Montréal 21 years ago is worlds away from Camrose, organizer Sandra Gawad Gad doesn’t think that time and distance separates the École Polytechnique students from Augustana students.

"We’re just trying to get awareness out in the community, especially in the Augustana community, to know more about abuse. We’re all students. What if this would have happened to us, ten years ago or now?"

Dec. 6, the anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre, now marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. December is also Human Rights Awareness Month.

Source: Camrose Canadian / Sun Media

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