More than 300 women and allies demonstrated their strength and solidarity at the second Women’s March Canada event in Fredericton. Imelda Perley, Elder-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick opened the event at City Hall with an honour song of welcome. Perley spoke about the treaties and our relationships to each other, the land and all our relations.
Event coordinator Devin Rigaux introduced Kate Rogers, Acting Mayor of Fredericton. Rogers shared her experience of being the only woman on a 13-member city council and encouraged the women gathered to put themselves forward for the next election to council. Rogers said it was necessary to have on council not only more women but also enough diverse voices to change the system to support more inclusive voices and perspectives on municipal governance.
For the first time this year, the march was followed by a Feminist Fair for local groups to share information about their activities. The Fair M.C. was Gül Çalişkan who moderated a dynamic group of speakers in the Wilmot United Church hall:
- Margaret Kress, UNB Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre
- Ashley Young, Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre
- Jael-Mercedes Duarte, NB Association of Immigrant Women
- Johanne Perron, Pay Equity Coalition
- Megan Groves, UNB/STU Women’s Centre
- Rebecca Ham, Unifor Local 4504
- Fiona Williams, Liberty Lane
- Dianne Power, Women in Transition House
- Sophie Lavoie, Reproductive Justice New Brunswick
- Nathan Gullison, No One Is Illegal
- Danielle Hogan, Gynocratic Art Gallery
- Valerie Edelman, Clinic 554
- Jennifer McKenzie, Fair Vote
Following the event, the Women’s March Fredericton organizing committee (Devin Rigaux, Rhonda Connell, Kylie Bergfalk, Susan O’Donnell and Gül Çalişkan) met to discuss the future directions of the event and how best to engage the volunteers that signed up to organize the next march. A focus on intersectionality to bring in more diverse perspectives will be the focus for awareness-raising and fundraising events in 2018 and the next main event in January 2019. Most of the committee members attended the January 22 presentation by Erin Morton of the UNB History department, “What Does Whiteness Do? Settler Colonialism, Feminism, and Epistemic Innocence” for inspiration and ideas.