Dear students, colleagues, and friends,
Violence targetting young women on a post-secondary campus reminds our community that our efforts to end gender-based violence are vitally important.
On Tuesday, December 6, we remember the women who lost their lives because of gender-based violence on a Canadian campus in 1989. Many of us know the significance of that date; I certainly remember it. Sadly, some of us will only now learn about the devastating event that brings us together to remember and act.
I encourage you to learn more and use this day to reflect on that hideous act of violence and what it means for us today as we strive toward an end to gender-based violence.
It happened on a campus
Over 30 years ago, the École Polytechnique de Montréal became the site of an unimaginable tragedy as 14 women students were gunned down. Ten women and four men also sustained injuries.
I cannot reflect on that day without thinking about our campus community. Students attend places of higher education to prepare for their future and to make a difference in our world. Instead, the students in Montreal, who were studying to become engineers and nurses, were taken from society far too soon.
On December 6, please join Acadia and local community members to commemorate the women killed at the École Polytechnique as we recommit our efforts to end gender-based violence. The details are listed below.
We can make a change
Acadia has made progress working toward improving equity and safety through our campus initiatives, improved policies, and resources. I am grateful for the insights, information, and activities that are happening as a result. Still, we have much more to do, and progress can only be achieved through collaboration.
We must all work together to learn more and do better, to be vigilant, and to take action in our daily lives to ensure an inclusive community for all. Standing by and letting things happen is not an option.
There is much to learn
The National MMIWG2S Awareness Day occurred on May 5 to honour the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, 2-spirit, and gender-diverse people in Canada.
None of these events occur in isolation from each other, and they all address the various ways in which violence is perpetrated throughout society. This becomes clear when we consider the murders of three Indigenous women in Winnipeg just last week.
Please remember those impacted by violence and oppression here around the world. It is vital to do more. And please be kind to yourself and those you know who are violence and oppression victims. Finally, believe survivors.
Hate and intolerance have no place in our community. We must take meaningful steps to end violence against women, girls, and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Despite continued acts of violence, I remain optimistic that as we recognize, understand, and challenge the worst of humanity, the very best of humanity emerges and is triumphant.
I am proud of our campus and community and how we stand up to violence and oppression. Thank you.
I am certain that we will be the change we want to see in society. When we work together with acceptance of our differences and also with what binds us as human beings, our future has no limits. That is the Acadia spirit.