Remembering Reena Virk Memorial

Executive Director Rachel Calder co-organized a 20th year community memorial for the murder of Reena Virk, on November 14th.  Here is her speech she presented to the gathering: Taped to my office wall, there are an assortment of short notes.  They include words of inspiration, guidance and specific dates I chose to help shape my work.  One of these is a small, yellow post-it note with the date Nov 14th 1997 - and it has been there for about two years. I remember Reena – she reminds me to be intentional in the work I do for the prevention of racism, youth bullying, violence and all forms of intolerance.  youth violence, racism and bullying are still issues in our community.  Youth continue to experience these forms of oppression, despite all the work that has been done.  It is a conversation that we need to continue, and will always need to continue. Marking the 20th year anniversary of Reena’s murder is important not only to honour her life and legacy but also to recognize our grief as a community and have this opportunity to continue to process it. I wondered, who am I to organize a community memorial for Reena?  I didn’t know her family, or have any direct connection to her death.  When individuals or groups face discrimination, they are often faced with the responsibility of having to advocate and call for justice from within their communities, that already face marginalization.  As a Caucasian woman, I believe that showing up, and engaging in this process and work allows me to step into the role of an ally. I initially though about an event within our school community to mark this date but I also wondered about the meaning that could be made by offering our larger community the opportunity to gather, to