Amherst, Cumberland vow action on violence against women

Christopher Gooding
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‘These young ladies will change the world’

AMHERST – Today, Friday, marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and here in Amherst the message was not lost.

With musical accompaniment by Michelle Leblanc, the people of Amherst and Cumberland County joined together to remember the 14 women killed in 1989 at L’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, the victims of domestic violence close to home and the silent victims no one will ever learn about until, unfortunately, it might be too late.

“We still here the question from time to time, is violence against women still an issue,” Terry Cove, executive director of Autumn House, said.

We only have to look at the names we find in the media, Cove said, like Tina Eisenor of Bridgewater – shot by her husband – or Reita Jordan – killed by her boyfriend – or the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons of Cole Harbour to find the answer.

“These are some high profile cases, but their stories didn’t start with the event that reached the media,” Cove said. “These were stories with many, many opportunities for intervention before their deaths.”

Joining the chorus for change at the First Baptist Church in Amherst included three Grade 6 students from River Hebert Elementary. Through the leadership of Pam Harrison, the trio have championed a cause each year, including fundraising for Haiti, and raising the profile for education girls in other countries. This year, Harrison said, the girls followed the lead of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, who was shot by members of the Taliban when she was 11 years-old when it was learned she was an advocate for educating girls, and committed to a ‘Nickels for Knowledge’ fundraiser, the proceeds of which will be used to pay for the uniform and monthly education of a young girl in another nation.

“I’ll tell you, these young ladies will change the world,” Harrison said.

Organizations: Autumn House, First Baptist Church, Taliban

Geographic location: Amherst, Cumberland County, Haiti Pakistan

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