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Shine a Light on Our Global Sisters Vigil Brings Community Together

March 12, 2018

Intimate gathering brings students and staff together to listen, learn, and reflect on International Women's Day

Linday Garneau, Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard and Brenna Farren smiling into the camera
From left, Lindy Garneau, College Head, Peter Gzowski College, Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Director of the First Peoples House of Learning, and Brenna Farren, Co-creator of the annual Shine a Light Vigil.

An intimate vigil was held on campus at the Gathering Space at Gzowski College on March 8, to mark International Women’s Day, and in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and women around the globe who have had to seek refuge.

Melissa Umutomi, a second-year Champlain College student attending the vigil said that she had been “hearing more about missing and murdered indigenous women in the news, and came to show my support and try to understand what’s going on”. This event gives students and community an opportunity to come together to listen and set intentions to promote healing, justice and equity, among all women, but particularly among women we know could be struggling.

Keynote speeches were given by both Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, director of the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent, and the honourable Maryam Monsef, local MP for Peterborough-Kawartha, minister for the Status of Women, and Trent alumna. Both made poignant addresses to the reflective gathering of students, faculty and community members. Event organizer and Gzowski College head, Lindy Garneau recounted that the speeches left participants with “a sense of deep responsibility, hope, and inspiration in the work we do.” 

The Shine a Light on Our Global Sisters Vigil began in 2015 as a joint initiative between the Trent University Native Association, the World University Service of Canada, and the Peter Gzowski College office to bring together the stories of Indigenous women and international women.