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Image from the Women's March Facebook page.

Walk the walk and talk the talk: Ottawa’s Women’s March on Washington

By Apartment613 on January 20, 2017

By Michelle Di Cintio

The Women’s March on Washington might seem like a strange name for an Ottawa event, but this March is one of several hundred being held in solidarity across North America this Saturday. The Women’s March is a protest against discrimination, misogyny, and hatred. It’s an active demonstration to raise awareness about issues facing women today.

Amanda Carver is one of the organizers of the Ottawa March. Following the US election Carver reached out to the Washington March about creating one in Ottawa, which put her in touch with Catherine Butler who had the same idea.

Carver says the Women’s March has a clear message: ” We want to stand strong as a community to ensure that we show that we strongly oppose racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny. We support that women’s rights are human rights and also acknowledge that many other groups have come under attack in the past year openly. “

As soon as the word was out, speakers and performers started contacting them about participating. Kristine St-Pierre, another organizer, is a bilingual singer/songwriter performing at the march.“I consider myself an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights and I’ve tried to bring those messages to the forefront in my everyday life, the work that I do and in my songs. Thus, I thought this would be an amazing opportunity to be part of a global movement around women’s rights.”

Jamie Anderson, also performing, is a local Ottawa folk singer. For her, participating in the March just makes sense. My songs touch on topics of concern to women, especially body image and sexuality.  I’m a dual citizen (US/Canada) so this March is especially important to me.”

When asked about local women’s issues Anderson and St-Pierre both had a lot of ideas. “I’d like more attention focused on missing Indigenous women. Nationally and provincially I’d like to see more women in politics,” says Anderson.

St. Pierre has similar ideas.“Many women in Ottawa face discrimination on a regular basis, which I think needs to be talked about and addressed. There is also still a lot of work to be done regarding sexual violence and our responsibility as a society in not contributing to the acceptance or the normalization of rape culture and a culture of violence.”

So why should people come join in the March this weekend?

Carver says, “We need to send a global message that we will not tolerate the populist, hate filled movements that are happening here as well as around the world. It is a way to come together, to form community, and make it known that we will not let members of our community come under threat or hateful messages to go unchecked.

St-Pierre adds, Last year saw so many heartbreaking and disheartening events both in Canada and around the world where many of us wondered if it was actually for real. I think this march marks our collective will to unite, and fight against what is trying to divide us and tear our families and communities apart.”

Anderson says simply, ” We are half the population. Supporting women makes sense. “

For the full list of speakers and performers, check out the Women’s March Facebook page. If you would like to help out financially, the March also has a GoFundMe. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come out and join the event.

This event begins at 11am on Saturday at the Human Rights Monument at City Hall, located at the corner of Lisgar and Elgin. The route will be: Human Rights Monument > north on Elgin > west on Laurier West > south on Bronson to 211.