Okanagan College vigil held for 33-year anniversary of Polytechnique massacre – Okanagan |

Tuesday was the 33rd anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre which took the lives of 14 women in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.

Post secondaries across the country marked the day by holding vigils, including Okanagan College at its Vernon campus.

Candles were lit and red roses were laid as Okanagan College students and staff honoured the lives lost 33 years ago.

“We say it’s an evening of remembrance and action because we want to honour the women that were killed but we also want to spur action. How do we change gender-based violence?” said Eric Reist, general manager of the Vernon Students’ Association.

Click to play video: 'Nearly half of Canadian women experience violence in their lifetime'

Nearly half of Canadian women experience violence in their lifetime

Canadians remembered the 14 victims of the attack Tuesday. And every year, the anniversary of the shooting is recognized as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against women.

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“Bring awareness to violence against women that is still happening as is still very prevalent and is very scary,” said Okanagan College student Rebeka Beganova.

“It’s a chance for us to speak about it because it is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people.”

Click to play video: 'White rose wreath ceremony held to commemorate 33-year anniversary Polytechnique massacre'

White rose wreath ceremony held to commemorate 33-year anniversary Polytechnique massacre

At the vigil, people shared stories of the past and acknowledge the violence still seen in communities today.

“We also recognize the issues that we have with gender-based violence here in British Columbia. We focus on the indigenous women who have gone missing and have been murdered along the Highway of Tears in Northern B.C. as well,” Reist said.

The event was attended by both men and women. And for some, the presence of men at the event shows a commitment to creating a better future.

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“I’m grateful that you know there are men who are aware of the misogyny that we still live in and that they’re willing to acknowledge it. Not take it as like a personal offence, because it’s not a problem with individual men. It’s a problem with society and our systems,” Beganova said.

A candlelight vigil was also held at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus.

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