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International Women's Day Brunch Draws a Crowd

Monday, March 12, 2012

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  • Jessica Yee and Harsha Walia speak to onlookers in the Grad Lounge

    Jessica Yee and Harsha Walia speak to onlookers in the Grad Lounge

  • Spoken word artist Truth Is...

    Spoken word artist Truth Is...

  • The Grad Lounge provided a variety of finger foods for attendees

    The Grad Lounge provided a variety of finger foods for attendees

Written by Janet Errygers

March 8th is International Women's Day (IWD), and last Thursday the Student Help and Advocacy Centre, Aboriginal Resource Centre, Guelph Resource Center for Gender Empowerment & Diversity and Interhall Council hosted a brunch event to celebrate in the Grad Lounge. SHAC generously supplied the food and several speakers and artists from a variety of disciplines for the large crowd that gathered just after 9:00 am. This event was coordinated by the Student Help and Advocacy Centre, Aboriginal Resource Centre, Guelph Resource Center for Gender Empowerment & Diversity and Interhall Council.

The morning began with a performance by Truth Is..., a Toronto-based spoken word artist. Her work embodies her own experiences as well as those of girls and women in the world who are not as fortunate as those privileged enough to attend the University of Guelph. The crowd enjoyed her high energy and the rawness of her words.

Next, Jessica Yee and Harsha Walia sat on a panel discussion that highlighted multiracial feminism in Canada and the world. Yee describes herself as a "multiracial Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter" and founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Walia is an activist from Vancouver who has been involved in justice movements for over ten years.

After the lengthy discussion and questions from the crowd, Yee and Walia stepped down and opened the stage for consecutive performances by local artists Nicole Bilyea, Kit Wilson Yang and Brescia Bloodbeard.

International Women's Day is a day observed all over the world, honoured for the first time in 1911. It is an official holiday in countries such as Afghanistan, Cuba and Nepal. In the past century, there has been a marked shift in the concept of equality for women. However, women have not reached true equality with men in many places of the world, and IWD is a way to not only celebrate the advances that have been made, but to promote awareness as well.

Each year, IWD gains popularity and status in part due to increasing media attention and social networking websites. In the United States, the entire month of March has been designated as “Women's History Month”.

This year, the United Nation's IWD theme is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. Each year, groups from all over the word choose themes for themselves to reflect the issues that they believe to be most pertinent at the time.


For more information, videos and links visit: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/default.asp
SHAC: http://shacguelph.org/
ARC: http://studentlife.uoguelph.ca/arc/
GRCGED: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~wrc/GRCGED/GRCGED.html

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