With cold hands and warm hearts, Ottawa residents gathered at Minto Park to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women last night.

An aboriginal women’s drum circle performed while volunteers took turns at the microphone reading out the names of the 14 women killed by a gunman at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique 21 years ago, and those of local women who died violently in the past year.

The vigil caused mixed emotions for Sagal Jibril, 17.

“I imagine it happening to my family or my close friends or myself,” she said. “It just puts that fear in me all the time, so I want to make a change, be a part of this movement and finally see something positive out of it.”

The simple act of coming together, said Ottawa’s Erin Albright, made her hopeful.

“You know that you’re united for one thing, and the more people that speak up, the more chance we have of changing the laws and getting violent offenders off the streets and getting them help,” she said.