More than 300 people gathered at City Hall for Fredericton’s annual Take Back the Night March on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.
Women, children and gender-fluid folks were invited to march to demand safety and security in the streets, in an event organized by the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre.
Jenn Richard, director of Community Development of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre, welcomed the individuals gathered and spoke about the details of the march. In her speech, she mentioned various times all the simplest, logical possibilities that were absent for women. “We deserve…” she repeated over and over again from the top of the City Hall steps as she listed how women are prevented from having “normal” freedom in our society.
Despite the cool night, marchers enthusiastically chanted, “What do we want? Safety! When do we want it? Now!”, “Hey hey! Ho ho! This patriarchy has got to go!”, and a plethora of other slogans. Onlookers honked, cheered and took pictures as the rambunctious crowd made its way through the dark streets and through policed intersections. FSAC volunteers were also on hand to marshal the walkers.
The crowd also displayed a surprising number of signs and placards, some with very original slogans, including “We are mothers, sisters, daughters” and “Consent has no blurred lines,” an allusion to the very controversial song by Canadian singer Robin Thicke.
Menfolk were invited to stay behind by White Ribbon Fredericton for a discussion around how to be good allies. About 15 people participated in the led discussion.
Upon returning to City Hall, the crowd was treated to the “Woman Warrior” song by the St. Mary’s Drummers. This was the first public performance by the group of 6-7 people and the crowd very enthusiastically welcomed their beautiful song.
This event was very timely, given the recent serious harassment suffered by Nicola MacLeod in the streets of Fredericton. It was the hope of all present that this would never happen again.
Sophie M. Lavoie writes on arts and culture for the NB Media Co-op.