When hundreds of Victorians took to the streets in January for the Women’s March, organizers knew they had tapped into something. As a way to maintain that momentum, the Victoria chapter of the movement is holding a women’s symposium at the University of Victoria this Saturday (July 21).
“This is a growing movement where women are organizing, running for office and taking charge in terms of leadership and taking charge of their communities,” says Kat Sark, co-founder of Women’s March Victoria. “I see our role as highlighting the work that is already being done.”
The afternoon-long symposium is designed as a gathering space for people of all genders to build community and raise funds to ensure the Victoria chapter of Women’s March Canada can establish a budget and continue its work.
“We haven’t stopped working since January, mostly behind the scenes,” Sark says.
In February, the chapter worked with the Stolen Sisters March, an event to mark the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered. The group was part of creating the International Women’s Day Festival and the March for Science this past spring and in June they participated in a rally against families being separated at the U. S. border. This month a contingent marched in the Pride parade.
“The underlying oppressive force that people face is very similar and how we respond as humans is also very similar,” Sark says, pointing out that women are the thread consistently woven through marginalized groups.
Trans women and non-binary femmes are included, celebrated and featured in the symposium, reads the website.
The afternoon is structured into four discussion panels modeled after the H.E.R.S. principles – health, economic equality, representation and safety – adhered to by Women’s March Canada. Topics include Indigenous women’s rights, safety and representation, immigrant and refugee women in Victoria, women and poverty and women’s health and safety.
The event will also serve as a launch for the chapter’s Women In Business Guide, a collection of local entrepreneurs who are making waves in the city.
“If you think about the kind of work that gets done in our communities, there are women at the front of it and we don’t know them, we just take it for granted they are there,” Sark points out.
“It’s gone way beyond the post-inauguration march in Washington in 2017. It’s not just a protest on the infringement of rights in the U.S., it’s a global movement.”
Tickets for the public event are $30 and available through WomensMarchCanada.com; sponsored ticket availability is available as well as free childcare. The symposium runs from noon to 5 p.m. July 21 in the Harry Hickman Building auditorium, room 105 at UVic.