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Candlelight rose ceremony honours victims of violence

Day-of-Remembrance-2013-PictonAlternatives for Women in Prince Edward County hosted a candlelight rose ceremony Friday, Dec. 6 – Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The vigil included the placement of roses in remembrance of 14 female engineering students killed by a gunman at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989, and of more local women whose deaths are related to violence.

day-of-remembrance-2013Closer to home, the evening honoured the memories of Stephanie Gardner,  Jessica Lloyd, Lise Marie Palmiere, Marie-France Comeau, Tracy Hanna and Whitney Hanna Elaine Jeffery and Kamil Kellar.

“To say that losing you has left a huge gap in our community would be an understatment,” said Wanda Post, community counsellor. “So in your absence and to reinstate your voices, we will continue to work toward ending violence toward women, in your honour.” Post invited audience members to carrying a rose to a vase and speak a victim’s name in honour.

“While we remember, we also honour the women and children who have lived because of agencies such as Alternatives for Women,” said Sandy Sidsworth, executive director of the Hastings Prince Edward Mental Health Association. “Even on this saddest day we have to celebrate that the vulnerable were able to seek support and survive.”

“We ask them ‘What has hurt your heart so bad?’ and what we get in answer is so powerful… often victims of sexual abuse at an early age… and that hurt they carry forward leads to mental health issues… It is the small agencies in this community that make a huge difference.”

Members of the community were also thanked for their work over the years gathering and purchasing Christmas food baskets for Alternatives for Women clients and children. This year 10 baskets are to be distributed.

Arlene Wilkinson and Caroline Shuttle spoke on behalf of the ‘B6’ group, explaining how the group of six friends in Bloomfield has now expanded to 20 friends throughout the County who donate a complete Christmas dinner with a few small gifts for clients.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” said Alternatives for Women executive director Rahno Godfrey, reading Margaret Mead’s quote, in thanks to the group. ”

Alternatives Prince Edward is dedicated to providing safe and confidential services while working to end violence against women. The 24-hour crisis line is 613-476-2787. For information on how to become a volunteer, or how to help the organization, or to make a donation, call 613 476-4435 or email alternativesforwomen@bellnet.ca

Picton councillor Bev Campbell places a rose.

Alternatives for Women executive director Rahno Godfrey watches Picton councillor Bev Campbell place a rose.

Larissa Lewis places a rose during the National Day of Remembrance and Day of Action event held at St. Andrew's Church, Picton.

Larissa Lewis places a rose during the National Day of Remembrance and Day of Action event held at St. Andrew’s Church, Picton.

 

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