On cold blustery Saturday afternoon in January a locally organized congregation of women, girls, men and boys gathered at Torontos Nathan Phillips Square to stress the slogan that we will not go back. The march originated in solidarity with ones in the U.S in resistance to Donald Trumps inauguration, but has evolved into a method of raising awareness for changes needed to help make Toronto a more safe and inclusive city.
Before the march towards Queens Park commenced there was a number of female speakers given to opportunity to address the crowd that had amassed. One of these individuals was City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam from Torontos third ward.
Kristyn has been a long time advocate for human rights in the city of Toronto and abroad. Serving as a member of planning and housing committee, accessibility committee and the community development and recreation committee within the city of Toronto to name a few.
The focus of this rally was to raise awareness of the potential damage that can be done by the Ford government when slashing essential services throughout the province and reverting back to the old ways of doing things. These cuts to the Ontario disability program, scrapping the scheduled minimum wage increase and paid sick days, and eliminating the basic income pilot program started by the Liberal government were all examples of how this new government is moving backwards, instead of forwards attempting to save important tax dollars.
Another step backwards being made by the Ford government are the upcoming changes being made to the health curriculum in Ontario. These changes include stressing abstinence as the number one method of maintaining sexual and physical health. Along with abstinence being the corner stone of the curriculum there is also no mention of gender identity, or any mention around the concept of consent, both of which are extremely relevant in our society today. While raising an entire generation of children with no basic understanding of gender fluidity, or consent we as a province will not be equipped to eliminate gender identity based hate crimes, as well as combat the increased violence perpetrated against women within our country.
Women March on Toronto is a separate entity than Women's March Canada. As found on the Women March on Toronto website they state "We believe that the values of Women’s March Canada do not align with our own deeply held belief in inclusive and intersectional grassroots activism." Further to this point Women March on Toronto believe that a movement shouldn't be owned and profitable, but instead should be inclusive and solely focused on advocating for the betterment of the cause.
This rally saw a group of women coming together in order to advocate for the change that they would like to see in our society. No matter what the weather conditions were like, these people came together to ensure that existing gender inequality and violence against women are issues that would be ignored by the provincial government no longer and the cuts being made would not go through unopposed.
All photos were taken from NowTorontos website.