UPDATE (Jan. 30, 2017): In light of President Donald Trump’s recent executive order barring citizens of seven nations (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the United States, Women’s March Canada issued a new call to action. Organizers recently joined forces with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and are encouraging Canadians to send an email/letter (contact info below) or call their local MP, join a vigil or a protest and volunteer to help those affected by the ban. For more information, click here.
Ladies, we did it. We took to the streets in bigger numbers than anyone had dared to expect, and powerfully yet peacefully raised our voices in a collective roar against the patriarchy. January 21 will henceforth be remembered as the largest single-day protest in American history, and the day that women stood up and supported their sisters worldwide.
It’s the start of a new week now, and while we have taken off our pussyhats and returned to the daily grind, there is still work to do. So what steps can you take?
In the U.S., national organizers of the Women’s March on Washington have unveiled the next phase of the resistance: 10 actions/100 days, to occur during President Trump’s first 100 days in office. The first action is simple but sends a strong message, literally. It calls on American marchers to take all of that positive energy from Saturday and put it in writing on a postcard to be sent to a U.S. senator. “Pour your heart out on any issue that you care about,” instructs the team’s website, which also provides downloadable postcards and addresses.
In England, organizers of the Women’s March London are encouraging a similar call to action, asking protesters to send postcards and/or emails to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to reaffirm the importance of women’s rights when she meets President Trump this Friday. (Similar letters can be sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is also slated to meet with Trump, although an official date is TBD.)
To find out how Canadian women can keep making their voices heard, FLARE reached out to Samantha Monckton, a spokesperson for the Canadian Women’s March, and asked what we can do now to keep that momentum going.
“We’ve engaged people on a level like never before and with that level of engagement, you can’t help but harness it. You have to. It’s our job to do that now,” says Monckton.
Sending a message to Canada’s political leaders is at the heart of the next steps outlined by organizers of Canada’s Women’s March.
So, #SistersOfTheNorth, to keep the spirit from this weekend’s Women’s March, Monckton and her fellow organizers urge us to download this Call to Action Letter from the Canadian Women’s March. The two-page document, which can be addressed to the political leader of your choice, calls on Canadian leaders to recognize healthcare, economic security, representation and safety (or HERS for short) as priorities, and key areas where change is especially necessary in order to advance women’s rights.
“We thought, let’s just spell it out for them and maybe they’ll get it right this time,” says Monckton. “They know now that we’re watching.”
The letter outlines the following three demands for Canadian leaders:
- That the indelible human rights of all women be upheld—in law and in policy—in their entirety.
- That long promised and undelivered national strategies to target and eradicate structures and social norms which perpetuate gender inequality be fulfilled: this includes a national child care strategy, a national housing strategy, a national action plan on violence against women, a commitment to the national inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), pay equity, access to women-centred healthcare, education and a fair justice system.
- That sustainable resources be allocated and set in stone to social service and women’s organizations: to advocate and to provide services, supports and resources to women freely and without threat.
Monckton says that while this is the first call to action, it will definitely not be the last—so stay tuned, and stay nasty, ladies.
Emails can also be sent instead of postcards; here are the addresses you need: The Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org); Rhéal Fortin, Acting Leader of the Bloc Québécois (Rheal.Fortin@parl.gc.ca); Rona Ambrose, Acting Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (email@example.com); Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca); and Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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