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Anti-violence advocate Dillon Black speaks at CCIC Conference 2018 plenary—09.20.18

By Jared Davidson on September 19, 2018

This evening Dillon Black will take part in the Canadian Council of International Cooperation’s (CCIC) Conference, which takes place at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill tonight and tomorrow, the 20th of September. The 2018 CCIC Conference is focused on answering one question: is Canada back delivering on good intentions? The conference features panels on feminism, youth, finance and political leadership, as well as numerous workshops. Though it is sold out, there is still room at the free community event presented by the CCIC in conjunction with the conference: a discussion of Sexual and  Reproductive Health and Rights takes place at the Library and Archives at 6pm tonight.

The 2018 CCIC Conference is focused on answering one question: is Canada back delivering on good intentions?

Black has long been involved in similar discussions. They have been doing anti-violence advocacy in Ottawa for nearly a decade. For the past 6 years, they have been working with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), and more recently they have become involved with federal politics after the Prime Minister asked them to serve on the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency.

“On the global scale, there’s still no consensus about gender and sexuality,” says Black. “So it makes it really difficult to advocate for those folks in other places, not just Canada. Canada could be a leader in broadening that conversation and making it a bit more complicated.”

As the world becomes more connected, more and more sensitive and important questions are revealed. Black is on leading edge of these emerging discussions on gender-based violence and gender equality. With so many voices entering the conversation, Black advocates a more interesectional approach, taking into account the multiple systems and processes at play.

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What a true honour these last few days have been. To be able to share space alongside dedicated feminist advocates & activists, from Nobel Peace Laureates, to Lt Generals, Indigenous Elders, brilliant academics, women of colour community leaders, fashion models, trauma specialists, business & innovation experts, badass grassroots feminists who have been doing this work for over 60 years I feel so blessed! As just a local Ottawa community person this experience so far has been something else 🙂 Being part of Canada’s Gender Equality Advisory Council has been a whirlwind of coming together and trying to get shit done all the while staying committed to intersectionality, accountability, integrity & our own communities. We have lots of work to do, but I think this group of folks are well positioned to make sure we remain transformative, bold & innovative, critical & holding onto hope the best we can! #genderequality #canfem #endvaw #canqueer #g7charlevoix #cdnpoli

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“I think inclusion and diversity could be a great way of looking at that issue,” says Black. “Actually, everyone has a role to play, so how do we move that forward?”

Black points out that a good opportunity for progress is actually with the people committing gender-based violence. They point out that so often these discussions are framed around punitive measures, and this sometimes leads to perpetrators being isolated.

“How do you have more bridge building conversations rather than make things more polarizing?” says Black. These are the questions that they want to explore with venues such as the CCIC Conference. “I hope this conference can also be a bridge building opportunity.”

On the question they raised, they do not claim to have perfect answers, but they feel it is in curious, thoughtful discussion that these issues will become more manageable.

“I think there are people who do things completely beyond human understanding,” says Black. “But often times these are people who are part of our communities, so how do we engage those people without isolating them, because that hasn’t worked.”