A model of a monument in memory of three farmworkers killed in a freeway crash in 2007 was revealed at a candlelight vigil on Sunday afternoon at Abbotsford Civic Plaza.
Families of the deceased farmworkers unveiled a model of the Golden Tree Monument, the first of its kind in Canada. It will be erected on the shoreline of Mill Lake in Abbotsford later this year.
Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu, Amarjit Bal and Sukhvinder Kaur Punia were killed on the morning of March 7, 2007 when the overloaded and unsafe van in which they were travelling crashed on Highway 1 in Abbotsford.
Although police recommended charges against the driver, no charges were ever laid.
In December 2009, a coroner’s jury made 18 recommendations that would make farmworkers safe. Not all recommendations have been implemented, according to the BC Federation of Labour.
Sunday’s memorial included speeches in both English and Punjabi by family members of the deceased women and by local dignitaries.
Coun. Bill MacGregor, Abbotsford’s deputy mayor, called the incident “a very tragic event for our community.”
“This sense of loss will never go away,” he said.
Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour, said that the lives of the three women are “sacred and important.”
“Their legacy must be that it is safer for farm workers to go to work,” he said.
“Our crime as working people is that we forget. And in forgetting, we allow it to happen again.”