January 2017 women from around the world came together in solidarity and marched against the hate, division and vitriol the 2016 United States election had created, leaving many fearful for their rights and their future.
In the year since the first Women’s March, there has been a shift in the public conversation. More and more of it is focused on inequality, discrimination, harassment, sexual assault and inequity in our community, province, country and world.
That’s why, when we found out there was going to be another Women’s March, we knew we had to be there. Advocating for women’s equity, safety and right to live free from violence drives the work that we do every day. We proudly answered the rallying call with a group of warriors and advocates armed with signs and buttons.
This year, the battle call didn’t have a singular focus, but was shaped by the important conversations happening around the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and the reality that women are still fighting for equal pay. Each woman was encouraged to march for what was important to her, which was clearly indicated by the signs we saw ranging from “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”, “Trans Women are Women” to “Silent No More” and “Time’s Up”. Everywhere you looked the signs represented the many ways in which women are still unequal.
The #MeToo movement has created an environment and a symbol where women feel secure and safe coming forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. For many, their experience may have been years, if not decades ago but #MeToo has created a space where they have found their voice.
We continue to be most encouraged by from these grassroots movements and the ongoing, conscious decision to call out the structures that have long kept women silent. From the Women’s March to #MeToo, women and allies are banding together to take back some power and say enough is enough. These movements are bringing together women from many different walks of life to talk about how we can change our culture and our society for ourselves and for our sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers. It’s a continuation of the important work of the past that has laid the path for tomorrow.
As we move forward and begin to take steps to unravel the toxic culture that has protected abusers and isolated survivors, we want to remind anyone reading this blog that we believe you, we support you and we are here for you.