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Women’s March comes to Calgary

Calgary Women’s March attendees descended on downtown Calgary participating in a rally to promote women’s and marginalized people’s rights.

“I think this has been compounding for a long time, so when all these women were seeing the Trump farce they really started to coalesce and understand that women are the ones that need to be the change makers,” said Chantal Chagnon, a member of the Treaty Six Nations who helped organize this year’s march.

“We [women] need to be the ones that start taking responsibility and action and stand up for what’s right for the future of our kids and ourselves,” said Chagnon.

The March began at noon at Bankers Hall on Saturday, Jan. 20.

Chagnon helped organize and participated in last year’s march and said she was amazed at the number of people at the 2017 Women’s March.

The Women’s March placed an impudence on the importance of intersectionality when rallying for women’s rights.

“Intersectionality is so important, because there are all these women that keep falling through the cracks, we get left behind,” said Chagnon, adding how people can become marginalized based on the spaces they occupy exposing them to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other types of bigotry.

Chagnon has previously spoken at SAIT’s Chinook Lodge as part of the Idle No More movement, an ongoing Indigenous grassroots movement that began in 2012.

“It’s [the Women’s March] about realizing that we’re in this together and how we can support each other to change the future,” said Chagnon, describing the March as a unifying event to show that as a culture, these issues effect everyone.

Chagnon said that organizers of he march are actively working to represent diverse groups by having speakers from all age groups, women of colour and LGBTQ+ representatives in an effort to promote education and advocacy.

She said that the march offers the opportunity to create leadership for all women, in particular those who may have been marginalized.

She hopes participants of the march will continue to work and come together as advocates, keeping the spirit of the march alive.

For those who are trying to work as active advocates throughout the year, Chagnon said that actions can be taken through letter writing, voting and spending money on businesses that sup-port women and other marginalized people’s rights.

Clare Linnea, a psychology major at the University of Calgary (U of C), said it really mobilized people to start creating change and start being more active.

“I think it’s important to show that, me personally, and others are dedicated to making lasting change and are not going to let this conversation die out,” said Linnea.

Linnea said she would describe the event as symbolic in the pursuit of change, but that it would take dedication to create lasting change.

The U of C student said the event was positive and exciting because she had never seen so many people, in particular women, gathered together to rally for a cause.

“I felt pretty defeated and pretty alone and upset on election night when Trump was elected. It was such an uplifting and motivating atmosphere. To see that other people cared about this and weren’t going to stand down, they were ready to fight for people that needed a voice,” said Linnea.

“It was really inspiring.”

The first Women’s March in Calgary was held on Jan. 21 2017, it was held in conjunction with hundreds of cities around the globe, as a rally for women’s rights and against the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It was a wakeup call for our society, there are a lot of social issues that we still face that are systemic and have a huge impact on our lives,” said Linnea.

Last year, the event was attended by approximately 5,000 people. At the time, organizers were expecting 500 to 1,000 guests.

Participants were able to share their experience using the hashtag #WhyIMarch and #WomensMarchYYC.

Other marches took place in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Halifax and Lethbridge.
Linnea said the most important thing is to continue to talk about it, even though the march is only one day. The message that it sends is something that we can continue to spread every day.

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