The streets of Kamloops were once again flooded with those marching for equality for the third annual Women’s March. Kamloops community members marched in solidarity for those who face oppression.
At 10:30 a.m., a large crowd of community members young and old and anywhere in between gathered in front of the Sandman Centre awaiting the opening speeches from this year’s march. The sun shone brightly as posters, flags and banners piled into the crowd.
By now, the Women’s March protest has gained huge outpours of support across North America. The original Women’s March that birthed similar events across the continent started in Washington D.C. the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration into the White House. The 2017 march was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history due to increasing social tension around the new president.
To this day, these marches continue because there is much to overcome. The goals of the march are far more than equality for women. While this was one of the founding concerns, the goals span wider. The 2019 march is advocating for legislation and policies regarding human rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the environment, LGBTQ2S+ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, worker’s rights and tolerance among citizens.
“I think there’s a misconception with a lot of people that in Canada, women’s rights aren’t really an issue,” said Alix Dolson, co-organizer for this year’s march.
In January 2018, the Kamloops Women’s March drew in crowds of an estimated 200; comparable to the crowds of Saturday’s march.
The morning’s speakers spoke of many communities that are often silenced by the oppression that this march is standing against. Speakers included MJ Paluck, Indigenous healing support coordinator for White Buffalo Indigenous Urban Services, Katherine McParland, executive director for A Way Home Kamloops and Raj Chahal, a social worker with Interior Health and a Social Work & Human Services sessional lecturer at TRU.
“While there are many things about today’s event that I am proud of, I acknowledge that there is still so much work to be done to make this event fully accessible and inclusive, and as an organizer I need to be accountable for that,” Dolson said on the event’s Facebook page in regards to criticism received for not following Secwepemc protocols. “While it wasn’t intentional, I now realize this was disrespectful and shouldn’t have happened.”
This misstep in protocol shows that society, with the will to improve, has a lot more growth to work through before one can say that 100 per cent equality has been achieved.