This year’s Candlelight Vigil, United Against Violence Against Women, on Dec. 6, 2020 will not be in person at the campuses of Okanagan College due to COVID-19, but people will be able to gather online to watch a video presentation and light a candle in remembrance. (Image contributed)

This year’s Candlelight Vigil, United Against Violence Against Women, on Dec. 6, 2020 will not be in person at the campuses of Okanagan College due to COVID-19, but people will be able to gather online to watch a video presentation and light a candle in remembrance. (Image contributed)

Violence against women in North Okanagan-Shuswap to be remembered online

Participants in virtual vigil Dec. 6 asked to light a candle and post photo on social media

Although many activities have stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic, violence against women continues with a vengeance.

In order to remember victims and keep ongoing violence in the public eye, the 31st anniversary of the massacre of 14 female engineering students at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989, will be marked by an online Candlelight Vigil at Okanagan College campuses in Salmon and Vernon.

The vigil, United Against Violence Against Women, also brings attention to the missing and murdered women in the North Okanagan-Shuswap, across B.C. and Canada, as well as all the women targeted by domestic violence daily.

Since 2016, four women have gone missing from the region: Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell. The remains of missing woman Traci Genereaux were found in the region although no charges have been laid.

“This is a time to reflect on how many families are impacted by violence and recognize that it takes a great deal of courage and strength for someone to leave an abusive relationship. Those who are missing or murdered in our communities are not forgotten,” said Jane Shirley, executive director of the SAFE Society.

Read more: Salmon Arm vigil for murdered women includes a call for action

Read more: Shuswap vigil remembers women murdered, stands firm against violence

Indigenous women are more likely to experience violence than non-Aboriginal women.

Kathy McIntyre-Paul, a Stopping the Violence counsellor with the SAFE Society, noted the society has been partnering with Okanagan College Students’ Union and Aboriginal Services for more than a decade to offer the vigil. She said the society is grateful to all those who have made a virtual event possible.

“COVID-19 has not made violence against women go away. If anything, women have been even more vulnerable during this time. The Dec. 6 event is an important way to remember and honour women who have lost their lives due to violence or continue to struggle with it,” McIntyre-Paul said.

Micki Materi, co-executive director of programs, Archway Society for Domestic Peace, said it’s important to remember and then to create a world where this does not continue to happen.

‘We can start with a national action plan to ensure follow-up to the National Inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s final report’s calls to justice,” Materi said.

Read more: Standing together against violence towards women

Read more: Enderby vigil honours Canada’s missing and murdered women

The online vigil will be comprised of a video that can be viewed at www.okanagan.bc.ca/vigil between 8 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6. Given the nature of the event, the webpage includes a special resources section, providing links to community services, interventions and crisis support.

The video will include a territory welcome and prayers offered by elders from both regions. Welcome songs from the Okanagan and Secwépemc territories will be performed. Representatives from different First Nations will speak. A roundtable discussion, organized by the Okanagan College Students Union and the Vernon Students’ Association Okanagan College, will explore how safe students feel on campus. Drumming and the Women’s Warrior Song will be key online features, in addition to music by local performers.

Anyone who visits the page, watches the video or marks Dec. 6 is asked to light a candle of remembrance in honour of the victims and survivors of violence toward women, and share a photo on social media.

A message from all the people who collaborated to create the online vigil is: “We must remain physically apart this year, but we can still remember together.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

domestic violenceFirst Nations womenGun ViolenceMontrealSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
EDITORIAL: Uneasy elements must be faced head-on

Electoral tensions in the United States could happen in Canada as well

(Pixabay)
‘Roadmap out of COVID-19’: Innovate BC’s program helping businesses recover

CEO Raghwa Gopal said the tech sector is here to help brick and mortar businesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Most Read