Women’s March on Washington – Winnipeg – Grassroots Activism – Shondell’s Favourite Things.

Women’s March on Washington sends global message of solidarity.

January 21, 2017

Shondell Babb

It was a phenomenal feeling to be a part of the Women’s March on Washington – Winnipeg today. Brothers, sisters, children and elders of all nationalities stood in unity against the general attack on human rights represented by Trump’s Presidency. Well over 1,000 Winnipeggers took over Portage Place Center Court at 11:00 AM for the rally.

Alexa Joy Potashnik, the Founder of Black Space Winnipeg, was the articulate host that kept the crowd’s energy alive. When speaking to the large crowd, Potashnik encouraged everyone to get more involved, “This is a great turn out. We need to have this kind of support for all of our protests and events to raise awareness,” said Potashnik.

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January 21, 2017, Women’s March on Washington – Winnipeg. Over 1,000 people crowd Portage Place Center Court.

Protesters, activists and allies were encouraged to state their reasons for joining in solidarity by using the hashtag: #whyimarch. I was marching for women’s rights and general human rights.

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Postashnik, the Racialized Student Commissioner at Canadian Federation of Students – MB, isn’t afraid to speak out on issues, stating that the event planning needs to be inclusive for all people. The founder of grassroots organization Black Space, said that her organization wasn’t initially invited as a coordinator of the event, but she took the initiative and got involved. www.womensmarchwpg.com.

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“It’s the women who have the power to

heal the families.” – Elder May Louise


Elder May Louise was the first speaker that inspired the crowd to ignite movements to help and protect women and children. Elder May Louise sat on a task force for human trafficking for a year and spoke specifically to men, urging them to ‘stop the madness by speaking to other men’. “‘We must challenge the men…and we have to say to them, ‘Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop having sex with children. Stop it.'”, said May Louise.

After the emblazoned speeches by various activists, the crowd was led through the misty rain by the Buffalo Girl Drum Group, who’s powerful sounds burst through the air-demanding that we be seen and heard. Portage Avenue was shut down to traffic during the proceedings. Protesters uttered numerous chants: “Hey hey! Ho Ho! Gender violence has got to go” and “say it once say it again, no excuse for violent men,” said the crowd in unison.

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The January 21, 2017, March on Washington – Winnipeg. Portage Avenue was shut down to traffic, as over 1,000 people marched in solidarity to Main Street and back.

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January 21, 2017, March on Washington – Winnipeg. Protesters gathered in front of Portage Place and some went inside for the closing ceremonies. Photo: Lori Todd.

There were some bolder, racier signs created to send clear messages in response to Trump’s scandalous recordings, where he was normalizing sexual harassment.

There was a feeling of unity and empowerment that came with being part of a global demonstration, that garnered media attention in every city. There is a movement called the uprising as well that is representative of this new generation that will not tolerate racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia and hate.

We made our voices heard today on an international level and we won’t stop speaking.

I have participated in other protests and believe peaceful community activism is important to evoke change. On July 20, 2016, I attended and performed spoken word poetry at the #blacklivesmatter protest at the Manitoba Legislative building. Black Space organized this event to stand in solidarity across North America, for the black men and women across the continent unjustly slain by police forces.

Below is a list of the 7 core organizing groups of March on Washington – Winnipeg:

Women’s Health Clinic www.facebook.com/whcwpg

IRCOM Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba

WGSSA – Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association of University of Manitoba https://www.facebook.com/UMWGSSA

Black Space Winnipeg https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpace204

CUPE Local 2348 https://www.facebook.com/cupe2348

Winnipeg Labour Council https://www.facebook.com/Winnipeg-Labour-Council-291591290865352/

Rainbow Resource Centre https://www.facebook.com/RainbowResourceCentr

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