NDP Federal Convention Workshop

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March On Canada was invited to give a workshop on grassroots, cross-country organizing at the 2018 NDP Federal Convention in Ottawa. I recorded a video that was included in the presentation, about organizing the women’s march in Edmonton in 2017 and 2018, as well as Completing the Story, a partner campaign of March On.

Hi everyone. I hope you are enjoying the presentation from Sam and Bianca! I wish I could be there with you. My name is Paula Kirman, and I am an NDP member from Edmonton Centre. I am also one of the grassroots organizers locally with March On.

4000 people outside the Alberta Legislature on a cold January day in Edmonton. It was a sight that was overwhelming and unforgettable. There was an energy in the air that was palpable, and many of the people in the crowd had never been to a such a gathering before.

We were there to proclaim that Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, and that we had reasons to gather that were specifically Albertan: to raise the level of public discourse and stop the bullying of women in political office and public life. To support survivors of gender-based violence and the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. And, to continue the struggle for equal pay in the workforce. Since January 21, 2017, the March On Edmonton Collective has continued to be active in amplifying the voices of women and other marginalized groups through our social media, our presence at events, and our continued organizing.

For me personally, I have had the opportunity to lead workshops and mentor others, as well as speak to a variety of groups about grassroots activism and the importance of making our voices be heard. I am also very involved with Completing the Story which March On Canada took on as a campaign. Completing the Story seeks to increase and improve the visual representation of women in public spaces – things like public art, statues, monuments, murals, and place names. This is important because representation matters. Lack of visibility leads to marginalization. Girls need to learn from an early age that they can be and do anything.

On a local level we are also gearing up for International Women’s Day, to be a presence at several events as participants and speakers. And we are currently organizing a #MeToo rally to support survivors and look at ways to go beyond the hashtag.

March On Canada organized anniversary events in cities throughout the country on January 20, 2018. In Edmonton, 1000 people came out on another very cold day. March On is continuing to keep women’s rights at the forefront by raising awareness and initiating important discussions about what a safe and equitable society should look like, and how we can all work towards those goals.

Thank you very much. Enjoy the rest of the presentation. March On!

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