Kerry Barrett, Secretary Treasurer, AFL
Numerous events were held across the province to celebrate International Women's Day.
In Edmonton on Friday March 8 there was a shared supper at the Queen Alexandra Hall. Following the dinner there were a few speakers including Karen Beaton from the ATA, representatives of Women in Black, G8 women activists, health care workers and an open mike for speakers, poetry, and music.
To celebrate International Women's Day in Calgary a potluck dinner and celebration were held on Friday, March 8 at the Carpenters Hall. The evening began with a potluck dinner, which was followed by a short program including a guest speaker, the singing of "Bread and Roses" and "Equal Rights". About 60 people in attendance.
On Saturday, March 9 the traditional Celebratory March took place from City Hall to the Vision of Hope Monument in Edmonton. Following the march there was a gathering at City Hall that included guest speakers, entertainment and displays. The theme was "Women Moving Mountains". About 100 people attended the event.
The program included the song "Bread and Roses performed by Marie-Josee Ouimet, a poetry reading by Shirley Konrad and greetings from the City of Edmonton by Karen Leibovici. A dance performance by Amasaro, a play by "Check-wazai" Aboriginal U of A drama students, a presentation of a donation to the Cathy Sewell Scholarship for Indigenous Arts and the presentations of the Edmonton International Women's Day Youth Achievement Awards were also part of the program.
The keynote speakers included Liv Lunde who is a 19 year old spokesperson for non-violence and tolerance. She helps provide a forum for discussion of youth justice through a weekly radio show on CJSR. Liv also writes about alternatives to violence for the Red Tear. The YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the youth category was awarded to her in 2000.
Another keynote speaker was Linda Bull who is a member of the Cree, Saddle Lake and the Goodfish Lake First Nation. She has a Masters degree of Education and is currently completing her doctoral work in Peace Education. She is the first recipient of the Ghandi Millenium Graduate Fellowship and has traveled to 5 continents with her message of empowerment, solidarity and peace.
The Edmonton International Women's Day Youth Achievement Awards were presented to Christine Jairamsingh and Erin Fitzgerald who have launched a constitutional challenge to have the voting age lowered to 16. Samantha King was also the recipient of an award. She is a 16 year old Edmonton singer who performs at a variety of charity events to help raise money and awareness for such charities as the Youth Emergency Shelter and the Michael Cuccione Foundation (childhood cancer).
J'Lyn Nye from Global TV hosted the event and reminded everyone of the history surrounding IWD. In August 1910, at a meeting in Copenhagen, the Women's Socialist International decided to commemorate the strike on March 8, 1857 of hundreds of women working in garment and textile factories in New York City by observing an annual International Women's Day.
The Centre for Immigrant Women from Latin America also hosted an event which included workshops followed by a plenary session, cultural entertainment and music from Notre Dame Des Bananes.
These events are a great way to celebrate International Women's Day and raise awareness of the accomplishments women have made and commit to the struggles we continue to face.