FREDERICTON (GNB) – A candlelight memorial to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was held today in Fredericton in memory of the 14 women killed at the École Polytechnique in Montreal 28 years ago.

“We gather today to remember 14 women our country lost as a result of gender-based violence,” said Premier Brian Gallant, who is also minister responsible for women’s equality. “As a society, we need to stand together to end violence against women in our communities.”

Today’s vigil falls within the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. The campaign began on Nov. 25 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. The 16-day period is a time to initiate action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Candles were lit in memory of the women who lost their lives while studying at the engineering institution. Following a moment of silence, Mélanie Dupuis, a Grade 12 student at École Sainte-Anne, performed the Silent Witness song I’ll Stand in the Rain, a song written by Leslie Monaghan of the New Brunswick Silent Witness Project in honour of the silent witness women who lost their lives at the hands of a violent partner.

“Your government encourages New Brunswickers to join in raising awareness about gender-based violence as we remember this tragedy and recognize that violence against women continues to exist in our communities and that it must end,” said Gallant.

The memorial was attended by members of the legislative assembly, civil servants, engineers and engineering students and representatives of community organizations that provide services to victims of violence.

To recognize today’s vigil during the 16 Days of Activism and to raise awareness about the issue, the legislative assembly will be lit in purple, a colour associated with violence against women, tonight.

More information about the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is available online.

A focus of the New Brunswick Family Plan: Advancing Women’s Equality is on initiatives that reinforce access to education and training, financial independence and the right to live free from violence.