Fredericton has been holding Women’s Marches since 2016 alongside 165 other communities across North America, according to one of the hosts Andie Marks. This year’s event was held on Jan. 19 despite negative 25 degree temperatures.
“Hopefully the fight for gender equality will keep us warm today,” Andie Marks joked during the event’s opening remarks.
This year’s Women’s March focused on four themes under the acronym H.E.R.S: Health, Economic Stability, Representation and Safety. The goals of the march, as per the Women’s March Canada website, include ensuring equal and equitable access to services that reinforce these themes for women across the country.
An enthusiastic crowd gathered in front of Fredericton’s city hall, hoisting signs reading slogans of support for women’s issues. The intersectionality and inclusivity of this event was evident in the attention drawn to the other issues around North America, including LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality and the Wet'suwet'en anti-pipeline protests.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own,” said Marks, quoting Audre Lorde before the march.
Geneviève Latour and Allie Turner led chants of “my body my choice,” “trans rights are human rights,” and calls of “that’s enough” to slut-shaming, victim blaming, rape culture and pay inequality as the march progressed downtown.
Turner sat on the organizing committee of the march and commented on the importance of a Women’s March in Fredericton.
“This event is important to show solidarity all across the globe. The march came about as a form of resistance after Trump was elected and changed policies that affected women’s rights,” Turner said. “Having it spread from Washington unites folks from all over, creating a movement with the ability to form more dynamic change. Having it localized to Fredericton offers local solutions and support relevant to New Brunswick.”
People of all ages marched side by side, from elderly men and women singing and shouting for the end of gender violence to babies in strollers leading the crusade.
The organizers concluded by applauding the participation of all those present, despite the chill. Marks reminded the crowd that it is through events like the Women’s March that change is accomplished. “The best way to start a movement is with noise.”