Remembering December 6, 1989

December 6 is the day we remember the fourteen young women who were killed by Marc Lepine at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. After the news was broadcast, our phone began to ring. “Is Chelsea okay?” was the refrain we were to hear from friends and family all day.

“Yes, she’s fine.” we would reply.  She was a first year engineering student in Montreal but was studying not at L’Ecole Polytechnique  but at Concordia University across town. She was fine.

But, we need to remember that it was just luck or circumstance that saved her on that day. Nothing we could have done in how we raised her would have protected her if she had decided to study at the Polytechnique.

There should never be a time when being a woman is justification for violence. Chelsea should have been safe as a female engineering student because she is a citizen, not because she chose to study at one school and not the other.

What will it take for women in our country to be safe? We focus on this question at Memorials for the fourteen young women on this day. We need to focus every single day on how to keep all women safe.

I should not look at my wonderful engineer daughter and know that we were lucky that day. I should know that growing up in this country she will not experience random violence simply because she is female.

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