On December 6, 1989 14 women were gunned down at L'École Polytechnique in Montreal. These women were targeted for death because they were women. This appalling act of violence brought gender-based violence sharply into the public spotlight and in 1991 Canada’s Parliament declared December 6th a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Each year, December 6th is a time to commemorate the tragedy of the Montreal Massacre and to remember the 14 women whose lives were so brutally cut short. But December 6th must also be a day to take action and we urge you, as education workers and OSSTF members, to mark this day with activities in your schools, workplaces and communities to help focus attention on ending gender-based violence. We also encourage you and your members to participate in the Canadian Labour Congress December 6th postcard campaign endorsed by the Provincial Executive.
This year, you will note some changes have been made to OSSTF’s December 6th materials. Our poster is now available in a bilingual format and the Status of Women Committee has also produced a new bilingual bookmark. Full-sized copies of the new materials were distributed at Provincial Council in September. An order form is attached. Other informational materials and ideas for activities are included in this package and we hope these will be of some assistance. For more information, please contact Marg McPhail at the provincial office by telephone at 416.751.8300 / toll-free 1.800.267.7867 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on December 6th symbols
The Red Rose
The Red Rose was adopted by the group of Quebec women, many of them relatives of the victims, who organized the National Day of Remembrance. It is the day women wear the Red Rose of Remembrance, take part in commemorative events, and mourn. It is a symbol of women coming together and stating in one, united voice: "we will no longer accept or tolerate acts that demean or violate women."
For government information and materials for the December 6th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, visit Status of Women Canada at www.swc-cfc.gc.ca and look in the section on Commemorative Dates.
The White Ribbon - Men working to end men’s violence against women
In 1991, a group of concerned men launched an awareness campaign on the issue of men’s violence against women. They believed that men’s violence against women should not only be the concern of women. Wearing a white ribbon became a symbol of men’s opposition to violence against women. The annual white ribbon campaign now takes place during the weeks leading up to December 6th. Men wearing the white ribbon are making a personal pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.
The White Ribbon Campaign updated its Education and Action Kit in 2005 and now has materials available for use in both middle and secondary schools. For more information on the White Ribbon Campaign or to order kits, posters or other materials, visit their website at www.whiteribbon.on.ca.
In Montreal, on December 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered at L’École Polytechnique - murdered simply because they were women. Shocked by this violent display of hatred towards women, thousands of Canadians started to speak up and take action to end gender-based violence. Two years later, in 1991 the Canadian Parliament declared December 6th an annual Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
The need for action continues. Violence against women is not acceptable yet every day women and girls continue to experience harassment, bullying and assault, often at the hands of those most close to them. According to United Nations' statistics, every year up to three million women and girls around the world lose their lives to gender-based violence or neglect.
December 6th is a day for each of us to examine our beliefs, our words and our actions. It is a day to consider what we can do - both personally and together with others - to end the violence against women now.
In Memory: The Fourteen Victims
- Geneviève Bergeron
- Hélène Colgan
- Nathalie Croteau
- Barbara Daigneault
- Anne-Marie Edward
- Maud Haviernick
- Barbara Marie Klueznick
- Maryse Laganière
- Maryse Leclair
- Anne-Marie Lemay
- Sonia Pelletier
- Michèle Richard
- Annie St-Arneault
- Annie Turcotte