Day of Remembrance on Violence Against Women Hits Close to Home for Iqaluit Event Organizer

Let us never forget and keep working to end gender based violence! We must have these difficult and necessary conversations and we must be willing to stand up and to stand united. #EndVAW…/dec-6-day-of-remembrance-iqaluit-1.3882…

(Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

The annual community walk and program for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and Girls in Iqaluit hits close to home for Elisapee Sheutiapik, president of Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women.

Her sister was murdered, as was a cousin, and those cases are still unsolved, she said.

"We're all impacted by this and it's a great opportunity to get together to remember them, but for me, it's so important to have the discussion and dialogue."

It was on Dec. 6, 1989 that a gunman walked into the Montreal college, École Polytechnique, opened fire and killed 14 women. The anniversary is being marked by a partnership of organizations in Iqaluit – YWCA Aggvik Society, Alianait, and Qulliit.

"We realize that this originally started when there was a huge murder in Montreal years ago, but each year we also honour our own people that have been murdered over the years," Sheutiapik said.

"This annual event is a great opportunity to never forget those who have died from violence, but also to talk about the challenge [and] what can we do moving forward to try to eliminate and minimize [violence against women]."

The walk is set to begin at the Igluvut Building at 5:45 p.m. and end at Inuksuk high school by 6 p.m., where there will be a ceremony, said Sheutiapik.

During the program Sheutiapik will speak about violence against women in the territory and what can be done to challenge it.

"Far too often people don't want to talk about the negative and the violence," she said.

"It's important to acknowledge and have those discussion because if you don't have those discussions and dialogues, you're not going to come up with potential solutions."

During the event, donations will be collected for the Qimaavik Women's Shelter.

In Yellowknife, the day is being marked by the Status of Women Council of the N.W.T. in partnership with Yellowknife Victim Services and the Northern Territories Federation of Labour. The organizations are hosting an action vigil at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre at noon. After the ceremony individuals will be asked to make a commitment to change gender violence.

By Angela Hill, CBC News