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Tonight I attended a local candle light vigil. A gathering of the Brant community to honour the memory of all women effected by violence.

At an event like this, on a day like December 6th you can’t help but think of 14 Women, 21 years ago.

For four of those women who were killed literally their life time has passed since their death. That is how young some of these women were. Genevieve Bergeron, Anne Marie Edward, Michele Richard & Annie Turcotte were just 21 themselves.

These women were so young. Sadly, the memories of their deaths have lasted longer than their lives. That is just another injustice, another tragic point of view to add to the list of many from that horrible day.

We berate women, we blame them, we sexualize them and compare them. And often when they need the community and the government we forget them.

100’s of aboriginal women go missing. We promise to help. But our government doesn’t follow through.

In October 2006 the word “equality” is taken out of the Status of Women mandate. According to the government of the day “equality” had been achieved. But oppression still exists.

In the media and sometimes in the coffee shops victims of violence are referred to as “hookers” & “junkies” instead of “women” or “people.”

December 6, 1989 was the extreme end of the spectrum of violence against women. But we’ve seen women in our own community murdered in horrific ways almost yearly.

That kind of violence is not something specific to Outremont, Ecole Polytechnique and 1989. You don’t have to look any further than our own local newspapers to see horrible, life ending violence against women.

It’s here and now. It must end.

As a social worker in the community I have seen the effects of these deaths and of violence against women, on members of the community, on other women, on families & on children.

Children see this violence. They feel the hole that is left from it before they can even understand it.

We need to call out oppressive behaviour & oppressive systems even if it causes social discomfort.

We need to support the people in our communities who work to reflect a culture of anti-oppression.

We need to remind our governments that these women, these people…they count.

21 years ago 14 women were shot.

On that day all of their potential, all of their power was taken.

On this day. On everyday we owe it to them and to the future to use our power wisely to help, to heal and to overcome.

In Peace and Healing,

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Brant Riding Candidate
Canada’s New Democrats