Marginalized women highlighted when Women’s March Niagara returns
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.”