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On December 6, York hosted an annual memorial service on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women to commemorate the tragic mass shooting at l’École Polytechnique in Montréal on Dec. 6, 1989. The ceremony honoured the 14 murdered women and inspires our community to act against gender-based violence. York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) Master of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) student, XXX, created a commemorative patining during the ceremony.

This year, the ceremony contained last year’s 30th anniversary theme of Ending Femicide by spotlighting the heightened vulnerabilities faced by certain groups of women and girls from marginalized communities. Through community-organized events, The Centre and partners from across York provide an opportunity to reflect on the ways we can work together to eliminate gender-based violence and recognize the impact it has on our community.

The painting spoke to the tragedy of December 6 through a swirling storm sky above the Burgerone Building. Orange and yellow tulips provided a focal point, symbolizing the martyrdom of these lives lost. The flowers stand strong as their shadows stretch down the canvas.

As a community, we need to make a commitment to advocate for, listen to and support survivors and recognize that we all have a role to play in ending violence against women and girls. Participating in community events and conversations helps to eliminate gendered violence and gives us an opportunity to recognize the 14 women who lost their lives, as well as missing and murdered Indigenous women and members of the LGBTQ+ community including transgender women.