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

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Caroline McKay
COLUMN: Bring books out of hibernation for the new year

Plenty of lesser-known works from famous authors available from the library

Nate Brown photo
Okanagan-Shuswap says goodbye sunshine, hello winter

Temperatures are forecasted to drop by mid-next week

One Okanagan man bought and delivered enough food for 10 Christmas dinners for families and individuals in need. (Bruce Shouldice photo)
Okanagan man makes a difference at Christmas

Columnist Carole Fawcett shines light on Good Samaritan

The Peach is looking ready for its COVID Christmas. (Monique Tamminga/Black Press)
T’was the night before Christmas in the Okanagan

It’s true that this year has had sadness aplenty, we’ll never forget the year 2020

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Most Read