City Hall is doing it, and so is the London Life Insurance Company building.
Both could be seen from the corner of Clarence St. and Dufferin Ave. where the tree lighting ceremony for the “Shine the Light on Woman Abuse” campaign kicked off Monday night.
Dozens of people stood in the corner of Victoria Park decked out in purple coats, scarves, sweaters, and mittens to support the campaign, aimed at raising awareness of men’s violence against women.
Executive Director of the London Abused Women’s Centre hosted, but was joined by Police Chief Brad Duncan and London Professional Fire Fighters Association President John Hassan.
“Purple is the colour of courage, survival, and honour,” said Walker of the campaign’s chosen look. “The colour purple has been the colour used to symbolize men’s violence against women for many, many years.”
As Hassan came up, Walker was presented with a hard hat for her “hard-headedness.”
“Too many Londoners do not feel safe in their own home. That needs to change,” Hassan said. “This is a great campaign. But more needs to be done. The campaign will end, but our obligation and our duty has to continue until we eradicate men’s violence against women.”
Before the lighting, the crowd heard from Houda El Birani, whose mother was killed through an abusive relationship. El Birani’s family knew her mother, Sonia, was in an abusive relationship, and didn’t want to get involved.
“We were very vocal about what went on in our home. We asked for help, we pleaded for help, and unfortunately nobody gave it,” she said. “Who is the right person to go to? Did we go to all the wrong people? But then that leads me to another question: Why is anyone in this community the wrong person to go to? Everyone should be the right person to go to, to ask for help.”
Next, El Birani unveiled a “silent witness” memorial to honour her mother. She then flipped the switch with mayor-elect Matt Brown to light the tree with a smile.
The campaign runs through November with events like “Purple Night with the Knights” when they face the Guelph Storm on Thursday. The campaign is also using #shinethelight to spread awareness.