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(2012-2013 HR#14) December 6: A Day for Remembrance and Action

Date: November 30, 2012
To: All Faculty & Staff
From: Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Re: December 6: A Day for Remembrance and Action

Dear Colleagues,

As December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women approaches, I would like to once again ask you to pause and think about its continuing significance for us as educators and community members at the University of Toronto. I have asked Cheryl Champagne, the Assault Counsellor / Educator at the University of Toronto, and 2012 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award, to share her perspective on December 6th from the front line, working with students.

I encourage you to attend the commemorative events as well as educate yourself on the resources available to help those in need.

To recognize December 6th, flags will be lowered on all campuses that day.

December 6th: Remembrance and Action

Cheryl Champagne, Assault Counsellor/Educator

Like many of us working at our institution and in the community to assist those who are directly impacted by violence, December 6th is more than a memory; it is an ongoing experience and reality. As I mourn the 14 women murdered at the École Polytechnique in 1989, I also remember the diverse individuals who I have met over the past 20 years, in Canada and abroad, who have shared their stories with me.

Whether you know it or not, you have met them too. They have sat in your classrooms, visited your office, been in the line for coffee, or passed you in the hallway. Their experiences have mostly been invisible. The psychological and spiritual impact, that remains long after the experience, is isolating. To talk about the violence they have experienced is to be seen differently – like a victim – and no-one wants to have their identity so diminished. Not only can violence strip someone of their sense of safety, it can also impact their ability to speak up in classrooms, to absorb knowledge, and to fully participate in all that is offered at U of T. Violence is an equity issue because it robs people of the opportunities and connections that are needed to thrive in academia and beyond.

Our response to individuals who have experienced violence is crucial and necessary, but our vision must be larger. We must not only remember, but also act. The Green Dot violence prevention strategy, which was introduced to the U of T this past year, strives to engage others to prevent violence-by fostering hope that change is possible, and by promoting a sense of individual and community responsibility. If we as bystanders look away and do nothing, then we lose the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and in our own community. For information on Green Dot please visit http://www.greendot.utoronto.ca/.

On December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, let us bring our boundless compassion to students, staff and faculty who need our help. Let us use the existence of this day, and the memory of the Montreal Massacre, to engage others and to speak up about what needs to be done. Let us bring forth our boundless hope and vision to create change and end violence against women.

Schedule of Events on December 6:

St. George:

12:15 p.m.
December 6th Commemorative Benches
(in front of Hart House, behind UTSU)

12:45 p.m.
Working for Change Lunch, Hart House, East Common Room.
If you have an accommodation need, please email usha.chandrasekhar@utoronto.ca

RSVP on Facebook

UTSC:

On December 6th, the UTSC community will come together to showcase the many activities and programs that we are engaged in to raise awareness and to act on violence against women.

The Day starts with formal remarks at 11 a.m. in The Meeting Place, followed by an Exhibition featuring video displays, information from the Women’s Centre and other campus groups, information on the Build Act Change campaign, dub poetry and dance performances, roses for sale to raise funds, and a café.

UTM:

The UTM Women’s Centre is hosting the Montreal Massacre Memorial in the Presentation room of the Student centre from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Dec. 6.