By Lethbridge Herald on March 8, 2020.
As communities around the world joined to celebrate and honour the strong women before them and beside them for International Women’s Day on Sunday, the local community came together for the annual Lethbridge Women’s Day Rally.
Throughout the afternoon, along Mayor Magrath Drive South in front of Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, dozens of community members and groups joined together to rally and show their support for equality for everyone.
“Today we are here at the Women’s March, we are organizing together on International Women’s Day, really just trying to get the word out that we are all here for all equality, we are here for everyone,” says Aleah Bastien, co-organizer and UofL Women’s Centre staff.
“International Women’s Day is fostering that sense of community and advocating for people that don’t have a voice because too often they are marginalized and too often are they not accounted for in policy, government or any sort of advocacy group, so it really is about giving back.”
This year, the Women’s March organizers decided to expand the annual event into a fundraising opportunity to give back to some of the marginalized groups in Lethbridge.
This year, the group decided to collect handbags and everyday necessity items to have the SAGE Clan deliver the bags to women on the streets.
“This year specifically, we are focusing on the Lethbridge homeless community,” says Bastien. “We had the Sisterhood Handbag Initiative, where we gathered handbags and other essentials that will be packed and distributed by SAGE Clan to all of the individuals on the street that don’t have basic resources.”
Joining the cause for the first time was Intuition Tattoo and Piercing who were offering a flash tattoo day, where participants were able to bring in everyday items to donate and receive a discount on the tattoo. For the first year running the Sisterhood Handbag Initiative, Bastien says it was a successful start that they are hoping will return for next year’s rally.
“We did a tattoo fundraiser with Intuition Tattoo and Piercing where participants could bring in a handbag or any other essentials and receive $20 off of a flash tattoo,” says Bastien. “We raised just over $1,000 to go towards making these handbags for people in the community, so it went really well and we are already looking to do it again next year.”
As community members joined to advocate for equality rights for everyone and rallied against sexism, racism, homophobia, misogyny, ableism and xenophobia, they also were able to assist a variety of disabled and homeless women and non-binary individuals in the community.
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