PLEASE NOTE: THE FUNDS SHOWING AS RAISED THIS YEAR ALSO INCLUDE LAST YEAR'S DONATIONS!! WE STILL NEED TO RAISE ANOTHER $3000 TO SUPPORT THE MARCH AS WELL AS THE AFTER MARCH EVENT AND COMMUNITY FAIR AT ABERDEEN THIS YEAR! PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO MAKE THE WOMEN'S MARCH IN OTTAWA 2019 A SUCCESS.
Our story began in January 2017 when a small group of women in Ottawa, ON realized that despite the gains made in Canada to advance the equality of (some) women and gender diverse people, there is still a long way to go. The American election in November 2016 may have been the origin of this anger, but it quickly became clear that women and those who identify as women, around the world still suffer greatly under a colonialist system that entrenches patriarchy, misogyny and violence as the means to keep power centred in the hands of men.
While the American Women's March movement was solidifying, a group of Canadian women determined to bring this focus to our own country. Not only in support of our American sisters, but as importantly, to highlight the ways in which women in our own country are still marginalized and oppressed in our own systems. Thus the Women's March Canada movement began and has spread rapidly across cities, towns, villages and islands in our home country. Although we share a name and many similar values and principles with Women's March America and Women's March Global, we are a completely Canadian entity, focused on the issues that are important to Canadian women. Issues such as misogyny, violence against women - especially violence against Indigenous women and girls and marginalized women; racism, ableism, trans misogyny, anti - LGBQT2S, anti - poverty, anti-semitism, anti-choice activism, anti - immigration...all of the beliefs and associated actions that aim to take away the power and choice of women and marginalized peoples in our country.
This year, in 2019 the theme of the Women's March marches all over the world is ENDING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE. In Canada particulary, we want to shine a light this year on the disproportionate amount of violence that Indigenous women face in every single province and territory in our country. There are thousands of Indigenous women in Canada who have gone missing or been found murdered since the 1980's alone; and Indigenous women are far more likely to be raped or violated than non -Indigenous women. In a country like ours, where we have a far more progressive thinking and acting government than many other nations -this is unacceptable. This year, many of us will be marching to bring international attention to this long standing issue in the hopes that it will continue to increase the pressure on politicians and policy makers in Canada to solve these systemic inequities once and for all.
In Ottawa, the lead organizers for Women's March Ottawa are Yelu Melop & Amanda Carver with Terrie Meehan and Catherine Butler as vice lead organizers. We have all been with the organization since its inception in December 2016. We all live in Ottawa, some of us are working moms and community volunteers, others are lifelong advocates in the disabled, anti - poverty and women's rights communities, and another of us is a francophone woman of color who immigrated to Canada from DRC and who has become a passionate community and political volunteer. We are all very fierce feminists. Which is why we chose to invest our energy into making this event the biggest success it can be - to draw attention and energy to the issues we still face daily as women in this country, and especially to the issues that disenfranchised women experience - women of color, Indigenous women, disabled women, poor women, and those who suffer from gender based violence. This year, we are so proud to work with a team of many great volunteers who are helping us to make this a success for the third year running. The more successful this march, the more attention that gets called to the need for change in our society, and the more women who will be inspired to continue 'marching' through their actions, every day of the year.
By the way - this is Amanda (pink hat) and Catherine (red hat) at the 2017 Women's March in Ottawa. We were pretty chuffed at this point because we thought maybe 1500 people might come, and it turned into many more thousands than that.
Last year's Women's March on Ottawa brought out close to 7000 people - people who wanted to send the world a message that the rights and freedoms we enjoy in our country will not be taken for granted and that we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We stood up to hatred, to sexism, to anti black and anti Indigenous racism.
In addition to witnessing a non-decline in gender based violence yet again, this past year we have seen divisive politics grow across the world, and with it, hate and racism has found it's home. The year has also brought with it the end of women's tolerance in many countries, including Canada. Women and those who support women's rights are DONE. We are DONE with the systemic misogyny and sexism that have allowed for the harrassment of women to go unchallenged for decades. We are DONE with the violence that still takes the lives of hundreds of women in this country every year - that has taken the lives of thousands of our Indigenous sisters. We are DONE with making less than men, taking on more of the burdon for childcare whilst simultaneously being disproportionately negatively impacted by poverty, climate change, violence. We are DONE with not having fair representation in our political system and structures, and with our unique perspectives being left out of decision making and policy. WE ARE DONE. And we are marching to show the world that enough is enough. That time is up. Women in Canada are getting angrier; and on January 19, 2019, women in Ottawa will be shouting and letting the world know we will no longer be silent. We will also be telling Canada that in our own country we will remain vigilant for any threat to our democratic human rights, and that we stand in solidarity with women, men and non-binary people here and abroad.
As this is a completely volunteer led and run event, we must fundraise for all our costs - including rental for indoor space, security, printing, AV equipment, etc. We know the estimated costs from last year were close to $7500. Every cent raised goes towards the march and to any excess funds (there have not been so far!) will be split between an organization that serves women fleeing violence and our permanent chapter which will be serving the Ottawa community throughout the year through public events to bring awareness to women's issues in our community.
Help us show the world that Ottawa women and men will always fight for and defend women's rights as human rights.
You can find out more about us here:
- Alixanderia Clymans
- Caroline Penhale
- Michelle Vandeloo
- Renee Giroux
- Mireille Brownhill
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