December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.
As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.
It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
Rosemary Brown was one of the “founding mothers” of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She was the first Black woman elected to provincial office in Canada, in British Columbia. In 1996, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. She was a life-long activist, feminist, opponent of racism, and champion of human rights. Rosemary passed away in 2003, but we continue to be inspired by her good humour and her passion for social justice.