Event poster. Image via KWIC.info.

The Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) and The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC) have come together, along with various students’ and community groups, to present the annual community International Women’s Day event at Seeds for Change. The annual International Women’s Day Community Potluck and Panel Presentation celebrates inclusion, equity and joining together for social change. This year’s panel presentation will focus on ‘The Art of Resistance’ and explore intersectional and creative responses to inspire social movement and challenge racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism. Special guests include: Chief Phyllis Williams, Kim Muskratt & Suzanne Smoke, Councillor Diane Therrien, MP Maryam Monsef, poet Smokii Sumac, activist and artist Niambi Leigh, as well as visiting artists, Nina Mercer and Alexandria Smith from Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter in partnership with Aging Activism, the Raging Grannies, Susan Newman, Creating Space Community Arts Studio and more.

This year’s theme, The Art of Resistance, provides an intentional dual meaning, On one side, it aims to draw our attention to the art and expression which is born out of resistance against a racist, heteronormative patriarchy and the ways in which we can use art to heal. On the other, it invites us to examine the ways in which resistance is an artform in itself.

There is an art to finding a way to create and uplift, within an oppressive culture. For myself, writing is like coming up for air. Often, writing allows me separate the substance from the chaos and affords me greater clarity into my own thoughts. Artistic expression, whether that be through creative writing, visual arts, film, photography or music, can serve as a form of catharsis for marginalized people. Similarly, campus and community groups can serve as a respite from a racist, patriarchal, heteronormative world. Creating spaces in which we can come together and fill in the gaps in our own experience by learning from our peers is of vital importance. These safe spaces have afforded me the opportunity to better myself as a feminist, a writer and as a woman.

A woman-centered space is a rarity. Our ability to create, organize and participate in these spaces hinges upon the work of the activists who preceded us. A question I often find myself pondering is how I can recognize the work of those who have come before me, while still recognizing the gaps in my own experience and understanding? How can I honor the work which affords me the opportunity to be as active and free in my community as I am, while recognizing that others still do not enjoy the same freedoms? As we celebrate the work of women activists before us, now is the time to look ahead and envision what our legacy as activists will look like.

As we envision the future of feminist activism, we also have a responsibility to redefine womanhood and what it means to create a space centred around it. The ways in which womanhood and women’s spaces have historically been defined has left the most marginalized among us vulnerable. As we look towards the future, it’s imperative that we recognize the power dynamics which exist within womanhood and in so doing, uplift the voices of those most marginalized. On this day, I celebrate Black, Indigenous, Women of Colour, transgender women, women displaced by war, refugees, immigrants, women living in poverty, mentally ill women, queer women, disabled women, women living with intersections of the above identities and more and all women for whom resistance is a non-optional part of their daily lives.

What: The Art of Resistance, an evening International Women’s Day Community Celebration

Day & Time: Thursday, March 8th, 2018.
Doors open at 5 P.M.
5:30 P.M. potluck & celebration
6:30-8:30 P.M. IWD panel program

Where: Seeds of Change, 534 George Street N, Ptbo/Nogojiwanong

Who should come: Everyone is welcome! This is a free, inclusive family-friendly event, organized by KWIC and KSAC, in partnership with community organizations and sponsors. Donations and potluck items are welcome.

For more information about this and other IWD events vist kwic.info or kawarthasexualassaultcentre.com.

Submitted by Zoe Easton, member of the CGSJ Steering Collective and IWD 2018 Committee.