rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

The next generation -- and what women sometimes forget -- on December 6th

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

It’s December 6th 2009, and many people have been asking me what I’m thinking today. What do I think about this day where 20 years ago, a man walked into a Montreal engineering college and shot 14 women, specifically because they were women. Interestingly enough, I had to fight to have a female Aboriginal Elder open and be present at the event I’m speaking at today because the organizers “didn’t want to detract from the meaning of the day” by me asking her to say some words. It’s the 20th anniversary of the École Polytechnique shooting, and people keep asking me, so what do I think about that?

I’m thinking a lot of things in fact. Yes, I’m from the next generation of women who were too young to remember when the murders actually took place, but I suppose I belong to the current generation of women who identify themselves with feminist politics and have heard from the foremothers of this movement in Canada about the significance of remembering the day, and to never forget it. They say, “Women Won’t Forget” on December 6th. But as a young, sex working, multiracial, bisexual, two-spirited, Aboriginal woman, I think that sometimes, especially at these December 6th type events, women DO forget a few things.

Sometimes women forget that as Aboriginal women, we are five times more likely to die of violence than any other race of women in Canada, and that women have been going missing and have been murdered in our communities by the thousands, for hundreds of years.

Women forget that while we show up to vigils and talk up a nice speech about some “poor prostitute” who died on the streets, we simultaneously judge, shun, and degrade current sex workers and speak against decriminalization - something that might actually help to protect us.

Sometimes, women forget that same-sex violence should be taken as seriously as man to woman violence and that we really don’t talk about violence in the queer community as often as we could.

Women forget that Elder violence is very real and is happening, but also that a lot of it is committed against young women, who deserve the opportunity to speak for ourselves as youth, not be spoken for by yet another generation of first or second wave feminists who don’t want to give up their power from the old days yet.

And if you are reading this and thinking to yourself “well, I don’t forget that on December 6th" please, don’t expend your energy to get mad at me. Direct that passion towards reminding another woman now that you’ve read this, or someone else for that matter who is forgetting, or who just doesn’t know.

For the record, I refuse to have another argument with someone about what this day is "only" supposed to commemorate.

What about you?


Note: This blog is cross-posted to the CITIZENShift femicide blog:
http://citizenshift.org/femicide-remembering-women

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.