This past Tuesday, I did something I have never done before: attend a memorial service for someone I never knew personally. Reena Virk was a happy-go-lucky school girl of Indo-Canadian birth who was murdered twenty years ago on the Gorge Waterway near the Craigflower Bridge. She was the victim of a horrific swarming by a number of fellow students, led by Kelly Ellard and Warren Sorecki intent on outing her. Everytime I pass that spot by the bridge, I am reminded of how powerful the forces of evil are in our community. Standing with the Virk family on the 20th anniversary of their daughter’s untimely death was the least I could do to express my heartfelt sympathies as an outsider. When I walked over to the school grounds that rainy, windy afternoon, my thoughts seemed to turn to the many bullied kids I taught in public school over the years, wondering where they are today. As somebody who struggled to be accepted by others when attending school years ago, I knew, in a small way, what Reena must have endured as she struggled to win peer approval from the most dangerous youth gang in the school. Desperation and naivete are words that come to mind when describing these hapless efforts. When teaching, I always tried to find ways to make my classroom a safe place for those vulnerable types who were sitting ducks when it came to being potentially exploited in any number of dehumanizing ways: drugs, sex, bullying, name-calling, blackmail. Since I left teaching in 2011, the province, based largely on the impact of the Virk murder, has instituted an extensive anti-bullying campaign to address underlying causes and effects. What I found on this solemn day was a collection off people in attendance who had their own particular memories and reasons for being there. Some were only children at the time; others had the occasion to be at the grisley crime scene when Reena’s body was discovered; politicians there to remind us that every effort was being made to protect women and children; others touched enough by the trauma of the moment to join a political cause in defence of battered women; and then there were the family members. The stage was open to a select few to describe how Reena’s brief life inspired them to fight for a better world. When it was all over, I left the grounds feeling as sad and wistful as when I arrived over an hour before in the driving rain. Bullying is no longer a problem contained to the schoolyard; it has now become the grist that drives the mill of public issues related to social discord and inequality. Reena has become the poster child for something bigger than anything imagined back then in November 1997: during the speeches she was repeatedly referred to as a sister of those battered women who live daily lives of fear and drudgery. As political and social landscapes change, I will always remain true to my belief the Reena’s life was not lived in vain if schools are considered safer places for our children, even with the ever-present emerging threat of cyberbullying. Twenty years hence and we still struggle to make sense of man’s inhumanity to man at all levels. Full marks to the Virks for letting the public into their lives as they try to move forward in search for what their religious beliefs call a better world.