"It was a pre-meditated attack against women who were breaking barriers and pursuing their dreams in a field traditionally dominated by men".
Violence against women and girls is not just a women's issue. To those Canadians who lost someone on December 6, to those who have lost loved ones, and to survivors of gender-based violence, know this: these senseless murders have their roots in misogyny and have placed feminism under attack.
"And yet, to think that there are still women here in our community, in Markham, in York Region, that face violence, that face threats every single day is truly a sad commentary on our progress as a society".
"Your voices and this event - the organizations around this room - your efforts and the awareness you raise every single day of the year are that much more important right now", he added.
U of C president Elizabeth Cannon talks about her memories of 28 years ago, as well as highlighting the many steps the school has taken to create a more inclusive community where all feel safe. By lighting the night, they hope to draw attention to the need for action on violence against women in Canada.
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Brown said December 6 is about recognizing the 14 women who were killed because they were women and had the audacity to be in a traditionally men's academic program. Today we honour and remember the victims of this atrocious crime.
"I'd like to suggest that all of our suffering is connected as is our freedom from it", says Bertsch.
People like Paulette Senior share that belief.
"Hearing about the terrible tragedy that happened here was a real eye-opener for me, recognizing that even relatively recently there was a lot of violence towards women who wanted to pursue male-dominated fields", she said after the ceremony. Nirmala Armstrong, herself once a victim of domestic violence, said. Survivors of gender-based violence are coming together, speaking as one, and standing shoulder to shoulder.