Finding Our Voice and Taking Up Space

Note: There is language visible in some of the photos – all of which are mine – that is potentially not suitable for work or for children.

I am one of the lucky ones.

Women's March Toronto big crowd

I come from a place of privilege. I brought that privilege with me to Queen’s Park yesterday. I’m aware of it now, so I didn’t let it interfere. Instead I listened and the most remarkable thing happened. I didn’t feel judged while I stood quietly listening to Farrah Khan, Ausma Malick, and Andria Babbington describe their experiences while the crowd around me yelled “SHAME!” I didn’t feel judged that I had neither a sign nor a pink pussy hat. I didn’t feel judged for being a white, straight, liberal-minded woman.

Women's March Toronto University Avenue

In the weeks between the election and the marches that took place all around the world yesterday, there were some online groups where women like me were asked to talk less and listen more. From an introvert’s perspective, this is good life advice no matter the situation. However it highlighted for me again how I come from a place of privilege and that I and those like me haven’t always been the best allies.

As the march date drew near, I worried about how I could participate and still be an effective partner in moving our issues forward to solutions. Where did action fit into the “talk less and listen more” equation?

Women's March Toronto Nathan Philips Square

I needn’t have worried. Yesterday’s march in Toronto was everything one could hope for when 60,000 women and the people who love and support them come together in one place. Yes, I could hear anger and fear in every speaker’s voice. I also heard love and hope and determination to fight for all human rights, to leave no one behind (Farrah Khan), to leave no room for hate (Deb Parent), to teach our young people to be warriors of love (Crystal Sinclair).

As City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said to all of us at Nathan Phillips Square, today – Sunday, January 22nd – is important. Today is the day we don’t let the momentum die. Today is the day we push forward and march on.

 

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