Sunday morning brought beautiful sunshine, but wind and brutal cold. My partner and I dressed in layers of clothing, scarves, gloves and boots and with Lucy in tow headed out to the National Day of Mourning in Thornton Park. On December 6th, 1989 14 women were murdered by a lone gunman with a semi-automatic weapon at a college in Montreal. These women were ordinary women just trying to make their way in this world. They had done nothing to the gunman, Marc Lepine personally, but in his mind they represented everything that was wrong in his life.
Thornton Park has been set up as a memorial for these women and there are fourteen marble seats with the names of the women on them. We are all given a scarf with either a picture or a saying about this event to wear around our necks. Then everyone walks in a circle around these seats while a Choir is singing.
As I walked the circle shivering in the wind and fighting to keep my scarf around my neck I thought how the weather seemed fitting to remember these women who were murdered for nothing more than being women.
It was uncomfortable. My feet soon went numb from the cold and the skin on my face was freezing and stinging from the wind beating against it. It made me realize that many of my fellow sisters around the world are living under conditions where they are uncomfortable all the time. Women have long been considered a lessor being and as such their lives have never been given the value that they deserve. In many countries women are sold into slavery from birth, raped as part of a war strategy, killed because they are deemed to have little value and made slaves by their husbands family.
At the end of the memorial the scarves are hung from a line between two trees and as I left the park I looked back at these red and white scarves flapping around in the wind and wondered how long it was going to take and what it is going to take before the lives of women around the world are considered as valuable as the men.