Marginal­ized women high­lighted when Women’s March Ni­a­gara re­turns

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Front Page - BETH AUDET

The voices of marginal­ized women will ring loudly when the Ni­a­gara’s Women’s March re­turns to the streets of St. Catharines.

“Ev­ery­one speak­ing at the women’s march this year is marginal­ized in some way,” said event co-or­ga­nizer Re­nee Martin.

“We wanted these peo­ple to tell their sto­ries.”

Martin, co-founder of the Ni­a­gara Anti-Racism Coali­tion, said the lo­cal group is dis­tanc­ing it­self from the Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton after re­ports of anti-Semitism within the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The whole point of this Satur­day’s march is to em­power women and no­body has the right to la­bel any sub­set of women “less than,” Martin said.

“Be­cause they’re marginal­ized their sto­ries are not told, but all of these sto­ries are im­por­tant.”

This is the third year that women and al­lies will gather in St. Catharines to raise aware­ness for women’s rights.

Martin said she was dis­ap­pointed by the low num­ber of men who turned out last year to sup­port their coun­ter­parts.

She en­cour­ages “prom­i­nent men in the com­mu­nity” to lead by ex­am­ple by show­ing up.

The event be­gins at 1:30 p.m. at British Methodist Epis­co­pal Church on Geneva Street. Par­tic­i­pants will march to Mah­tay Café & Lounge on St. Paul Street for a gath­er­ing with speak­ers at

about 2 p.m.

It was im­por­tant for Martin that the height of the march be an ac­ces­si­ble gath­er­ing, she said, so peo­ple who can’t march for what­ever rea­son can still sup­port the cause.

This year’s speak­ers in­clude: Pati Haber­mann, who ran for Fort Erie town coun­cil; Rochelle Bush, a his­to­rian at British Methodist Epis­co­pal Church; Ly­dia Collins, a work­shop fa­cil­i­ta­tor at the Brock Stu­dent Jus­tice Cen­tre; Vicki-Lynn Smith, a mem­ber of Ni­a­gara Anti-Racism Coali­tion who ran for coun­cil in St. Catharines.

Martin said it is still nec­es­sary to march be­cause “we see it all and we de­serve bet­ter.”

“Me too” sto­ries con­tinue to

break, she said, and women con­tinue to face dis­crim­i­na­tion even lo­cally.

She said there are women mak­ing gains, but these are usu­ally up­per mid­dle-class, white, straight women.

“Even those get­ting ahead are still be­hind a man,” Martin said. “It will be im­por­tant (to march) un­til we have true equal­ity across the board.”

Re­nee Martin

Tegh Kaur

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