LEGACY OF MAPLE BATALIA: Candle Light Vigil Held And Memorial Statement Read In Legislature For The Slain Indo-Canadian Woman
SURREY- Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley stood in the Legislature on International Women’s Day, Wednesday March 8 to read a statement in honour of Maple Batalia.
Statement from Hansard, Wednesday, March 8, 2017- Legacy of Maple Batalia:
Ralston: Last Saturday, March 4, a candlelight vigil took place at Holland Park in Surrey-Whalley to honour victims of domestic violence. One of the very poignant stories recounted was that of Maple Batalia. She was murdered at the age of 19 in the parking lot of Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on September 28, 2011. Maple was an extraordinary and vibrant young woman, an SFU student and also an aspiring actress and model. The murderer was a young man prosecutors described as a jealous ex-boyfriend. He ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with no eligibility for a parole application for 21 years. An accomplice was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder and was sentenced to 22 months in jail.
The Batalia family has responded to the tragedy in a strong and resilient way. Maple’s sister Roseleen has dedicated her life to ending violence against women. To honour Maple’s legacy, the Batalia family has established a bursary to support students in SFU’s health sciences department. Her mother, Sarbjit, told me on Saturday that as a result of her work, the fund now exceeds $100,000. A separate Maple Batalia Memorial Scholarship of the Arts was also established in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art and Design. The family continues to advocate publicly to prevent future cases of domestic violence.
Speakers at the vigil spoke of the important conversations that are required with both men and women to change attitudes to women and girls, and to act with respect for their decisions and their personal autonomy. Roseleen said that the warmth and strength of her younger sister’s spirit will never disappear. She says: “These people may take Maple away, but they will never take away her legacy. Even after her death, her legacy goes on.”
As we mark International Women’s Day today, Maple’s tragic death reminds us of the distance we still must travel to achieve true equality for women and girls.