Hey everyone, I just wanted to float this idea by you since you are all such smart, wonderful and dedicated people.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is on March 8, 2011, and as traditions go, we are yet again having a march in Toronto on Saturday March 12, 2011. [Disclaimer: keep in mind that I am simply a Toronto activist who is not representing a group or NGO, this is simply an idea I would like to put forward to the Toronto activist community.]
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. You can read about the history of International Women’s day since 1908 here.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Rally: 11:00 am at OISE Auditorium, 252 Bloor St West.
March starts at 1:00 pm
Fair: 1:30PM and Ryerson Student Centre, 55 Gould Street.
I was blessed with being able to help organize the February 14 National day of action – No More Silence for missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The amount of passion and commitement to this issue [I’m replacing the ‘was’ with ‘is’] is breathtaking. Simply breathtaking. It’s sad for me to know that such injustiice exists but the sheer power and beauty and strength I witnessed makes me not proud but extremely humble.
There were rallies held across the country anchored by the 20th Anniversary for justice in Vancouver BC, and an Ottawa rally to reinstate the Sisters in Spirit program. Toronto’s rally marked the 6th year demanding justice.
According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC):
“Aboriginal women and girls are facing the most pervasive human rights crisis in Canada today. As of March 31, 2010 NWAC has found 582 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls…The list of missing and murdered Native women in Canada grows: Out a total of 582 cases, 393 died as a result of murder or negligence. And 115 remain missing. Only in 53% of the cases involving Native women was someone charged, whereas the average rate for charges in a homicide in Canada is 84%.”
At the feast after the Toronto rally and vigil, the idea of harnessing the beautiful power of resistance here became an idea to have a specific contingent within the the International Women’s Day march
So this is what I am proposing: a specific contigent on March 12, 2011, as a space for First Nations and their allies to gather around the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women. I would humbly encourage people to bring their drums and songs and issue specific placards and banners.
This would be an opportunity for First Nations communities and their allies to use the space as a story telling forum through banners and drums and the ability to interact with other feminists, define their struggle and what assistance they need. The women’s movement does not need to speak for these women who can and have been speaking of themselves, but this would be a great opportunity for narrative-based outsearch and education. Stastics are one thing, but hearing the actual stories is quite another.
I would love feedback based on this proposal (questions, comments, criticisms) and if people agree, how we can move forward. I’m talking grass roots here so please post in the space below or connect with me on Facebook or on babble in the activist babble thread. Again, I am proposing a contigent within the larger march, a chamber within the larger heart.
I’m embedding a video below: Survival. Strength. Agape – Power of People in the Downtown Eastside. A much watch.