U-SOLVE vice-chair Kelsey Friesen stands with a poster memorializing one of the l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal shooting victims. U-SOLVE invites you to join the commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women: Thursday, December 6 (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) in Room 7-143.

Taking action on a day of remembrance

December 6, 2018 | Campus Life

On December 6, 1989, 14 women at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal were killed by a gunman – simply because they were women.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women marks this tragic event in Canadian history, and MacEwan University’s U-SOLVE is reminding everyone that we all have a part to play in the elimination of gender-based violence.

One of those reminders is the cross-campus poster display, each memorializing one of the 14 victims. Passersby are encouraged to learn more about the women and the Day of Remembrance, and to attend U-SOLVE’s event on December 6 to reflect and learn ways to take action.

According to Kelsey Friesen, vice-chair of U-SOLVE (University Students Offering Leadership on Violence Elimination), taking action comes in many forms, and it’s vital that we find a way to do it. “Gender-based violence is all around us—in sexist jokes that demean people, in media messages that objectify women, and in gender norms imposed on us from a young age.”

Students, staff and faculty can volunteer with community organizations, including the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, or make the most of university resources by doing research. Kelsey adds that questioning your own actions and responses (like “Do I perpetuate a culture of gender-based violence through the language I use?”) can make a difference.

“We have a lot of different groups on campus that take an intersectional approach to gender-based violence, like MAVEN, InQueeries and U-SOLVE,” she says.

And today you can take action by commemorating the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Members of U-SOLVE and MAVEN will be at today’s event to talk about ways we can all take action in the elimination of gender-based violence.

“Our idea is to reflect on what gender-based violence looks like,” says Kelsey. “We have come a long way since 1989, but we still have a lot of work to do. That’s why we’re holding this event. Just think about what you can do in order to eliminate this culture of violence.”


Kelsey Friesen is a fourth-year honours sociology student conducting research on sexual violence policies in Canadian post-secondary institutions. Through focus groups and interviews, her research examines reactions to and perceptions of these policies. She will be presenting her work at Student Research Day in April.


Read more about ending gender-based violence:

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