Why I March

YWCA Toronto supporters at the International Women’s Day march in the early 1980’s.

As a queer, Caribbean-Canadian, Black woman, every day my personal is political. I advocate for understanding as an ally and for different perspectives to be shared. I speak up when I see injustice. And I march.

I invite you to march with me as part of YWCA Toronto’s delegation at the International Women’s Day march on Saturday March 11, 2017 – the march begins at 1:00 pm, leaving from the University of Toronto’s Medical Sciences Building, 1 King’s College Circle. There is also an indoor rally at the same location from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm for those who are interested. Spread the word to participants in your program, invite family and friends. All are welcome.

I want people to know that YWCA Toronto is a powerhouse. This march reflects the work that we do, and the issues that we all support. YWCA has a long history of advocacy and direct services that help women and girls thrive. We have been here for almost 145 years. At the same time, we are still young and constantly evolving to meet the needs of women and girls across Toronto.

Check out this tip-sheet developed by Rania El Mugammar and the Centre for Social Innovation. Click to enlarge.

I march because communities and hard fought rights are under attack. I march for a Canada without racism, or violence against women, or a gender wage gap or an affordable housing crisis. I march for action on poverty and mental health, thinking of the mothers and grandmothers in my community who are carrying heavy loads with nowhere to turn. It is hard to believe that we are still fighting for these issues. That said, as I think about the work ahead, I am not the least bit tired.

What gives me hope is that women are becoming angry. We can do something with that – we can write letters, we can resist, we can protest. Many of my friends and people in my networks are speaking out and being political, just as I am. It is encouraging that many are doing this for the very first time.

As I march, I always think about future generations. It is our responsibility to lay the groundwork for what gets passed on. It is our responsibility to ensure that as a society we keep moving forward – not backward. It is through our collective resistance and action that we can make the greatest impact.

There is a renewed energy in the women’s movement – let’s all be a part of it.

See you at the march.

Kim Quashie is the Senior Design and Production Co-ordinator at YWCA Toronto.