March for women

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - FRONT PAGE - ERIK PINDERA epin­[email protected]­media.com

De­spite frigid weather, more than 30 peo­ple gath­ered for a vigil in Kenora Mar­ket Square Thurs­day to re­mem­ber women and girls who’ve vi­o­lently lost their lives be­cause of their gen­der.

The Dec. 6 vigil marked 29 years since 14 women were shot and killed at École Polytech­nique in Mon­treal by a gun­man who blamed fem­i­nism for “ru­in­ing his life.” Twelve of the 14 women were en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents.

Dec. 6 has since be­come Na­tional Day of Re­mem­brance and Ac­tion on Vi­o­lence Against Women in Canada.

Lo­cal el­der Cathy Lind­say opened the vigil with a prayer, be­fore speak­ing to the crowd.

“We’re hon­our­ing our women,” Lind­say said.

“I hope we can stand more in vigil — not just to­day,” Lin­day said. “Our an­ces­tors stood vigil al­most every day. Yes, we can pray but we need to stand.”

Lind­say thanked the men who at­tended, and who marched with signs in sol­i­dar­ity from Husky the Musky, not­ing that men should and do stand be­side women, rather than above them.

At­ten­dees at the Kenora vigil laid roses on a blan­ket held down with can­dles.

Four­teen white roses rep­re­sented the women mur­dered at École Polytech­nique. Red roses rep­re­sented the lives of Kenora-area women who lost their lives be­cause of gen­der­based vi­o­lence. A pur­ple rose rep­re­sented the lives of miss­ing and mur­dered In­dige­nous women in Canada.

It’s good to have op­por­tu­ni­ties to hon­our and rec­og­nize women and girls who’ve died due to their gen­der, said Sarah Beck­man, Ne-Chee Friend­ship Cen­tre’s In­dige­nous heal­ing and well­ness co­or­di­na­tor.

“A lot of times, when some­one passes that we love, it’s a mat­ter of the heart,” Beck­man said “We carry that pain in our heart for a very long time and for some peo­ple it’s eas­ier than oth­ers to go through that griev­ing process.”

She said it was an hon­our to help the peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions that at­tended the vigil.

“For me, be­ing a helper is what to­day is all about, and rec­og­niz­ing those women that have passed on and the vi­o­lence that ex­ists in our com­mu­nity, so we can move be­yond that, and move for­ward,” Beck­man said.

David Trask was one of the men who marched from Husky the Musky to the square. He works with Ne-Chee Friend­ship Cen­tre as a co­or­di­na­tor with the Kizhaay Anishi­naabe Niin, or I am a kind man, pro­gram.

“I work with men and boys who have pre­vi­ously been or are cur­rently in­volved in the jus­tice sys­tem, re­lated to abuse against women and girls,” Trask said. “So my part in this is I’m try­ing to en­cour­age as many men in Kenora as pos­si­ble to come out and sup­port our women and girls.”

Trask is also part of the lo­cal vi­o­lence against women coali­tion, which or­ga­nized the vigil. The coali­tion is made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ne-Chee Friend­ship Cen­tre, the On­tario Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion, the Kenora Sex­ual As­sault Cen­tre, Women’s Place Kenora, the Metis Na­tion of On­tario and Saakaate House.

ERIK PINDERA/DAILY MINER AND NEWS

Jake Boutwell, David Trask and OPP com­mu­nity safety of­fi­cer Const. Ja­son Can­field march in sup­port of the Na­tional Day of Re­mem­brance and Ac­tion Against Women in Canada on Dec. 6.

ERIK PINDERA/DAILY MINER AND NEWS

Melissa Bod­ner speaks at the vigil, ex­plain­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the day, be­fore at­ten­dees laid roses.

ERIK PINDERA/DAILY MINER AND NEWS

Jen­nifer Coulis, com­mu­nity well­ness co­or­di­na­tor with the Mètis Na­tion of On­tario, lights a can­dle be­fore the vigil be­gan.

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