This past Saturday I joined in Toronto’s International Women’s Day March. This year the theme was Liberation: Honouring our sisters, Celebrating our victories, Strengthening our resistance, on Indigenous land.
The week before the march, the devastating news of the Tina Fontaine case was received. The verdict was released and Raymond Cormier was found not guilty in the second-degree murder of the 15 year old. Ms. Fontaine’s case showed us that once again the Canadian justice system has failed Indigenous women and girls. It was a harsh reminder that Indigenous women and girl must be centered in the women’s movement in Canada.
As a result of this lack of justice, a rally was planned in support of Tina Fontaine, and the route of the International Women’s Day march was changed so that we would end at the location of the rally and come together in support of Ms. Fontaine and all Indigenous women and girl. It was a small but important change to the march.
This year, I marched with the YWCA Toronto. I have been a proud supporter of the YWCA Toronto for a number of years, and I recently joined their advocacy committee. It was a great experience getting to march with a group of women committed to making change right here in our city.
Overall it was a powerful Saturday filled with connection and inspiration. It reminded me how important it is to do this work in community. It can get discouraging working away at this alone, but seeing the volume of people who came out in support provided me with a much needed boost of energy.
There is only so much we can do alone, but together we are so powerful! As legendary feminist Gloria Steinem once said: "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."
If you want to learn more about the day, it's origins, and this year's theme, you can check out the International Women's Day website here: www.internationalwomensday.com.