Pictou Academy observed the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women with a special presentation and ceremony organized by the local chapter of the Interagency on Family Violence which alternates holding the ceremony each year at different high schools in the area.
The day of remembrance is held each year to mark the massacre at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal that took the lives of 14 women in 1989.
This year’s ceremony had a special presentation from Lynn Gallant Blackburn who spoke about her sister, Paula Gallant, a victim of domestic partner violence from Timberlea. Gallant was found dead in the trunk of her car just after Christmas in 2005 at the parking lot of the school where she was a Grade 3 teacher. Gallant Blackburn and Gallant’s family and daughter, who was an infant at the time of her mother’s death, have been advocating for awareness on domestic partner violence.
“It’s important to talk to high school students about this sort of thing,” said Gallant Blackburn. “They have the ability to be the change.”
She added that partner violence is not talked about enough in public forums and needs more awareness to prevent it from happening to someone else. Gallant Blackburn feels that her sister, being a teacher, would be happy with the work their family and her daughter is doing now.
“It’s a mix of emotions. I can’t help but feeling sad that it’s my sister, but I can’t help but feel proud,” said Gallant Blackburn. “Sharing her story is easy because she was such a vibrant woman.”
Gallant Blackburn hopes that students and community members who hear Gallant’s story remember that no one is immune and violence does not discriminate.
“As an educator, she would love that Pictou Academy… is open to having real conversations,” she said.