Gateway Gazette

Rowan House and Okotoks United Church Partner for International Women’s Day

Two Events Combine to Raise Awareness of Gender-Based Violence and Celebrate Women

Okotoks, AB – Rowan House Society is set to host its 4th annual 1 Billion Rising March (1BR). Traditionally held in February, organizers are moving it to March 8th this year to coincide with another successful event held in 2017 by the Okotoks United Church for International Women’s Day. Together the organizations are raising awareness about gender-based violence, while celebrating women through stories, art and music.

The 1BR march is a global movement that officially launched in 2012 as a call to action against the alarming statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime – adding up to more than 1 Billion women and girls. Since then, the movement has grown and marches, dances and other events are held by organizations across the world between February 14th and March 8th. Rowan House joined the movement locally in 2014, moving it between High River and Okotoks each year.

“With the march being held in Okotoks this year, and the United Church looking to once again host its International Women’s Day potluck event that was so successful last year, we felt it would be quite powerful to bring the two events together,” explained Rowan House Shelter Team Lead, Brittany Smith. “Over the years the timeframe for hosting a Rising event has expanded to accommodate the growing movement and, actually, in Canada they’re encouraged to take place closer to March 8th as not to overlap with the Women’s Memorial March, so it really is a good fit.”

The 2018 Theme is Solidarity as we rise against all forms of violence and oppression. Smith said, “We must continue to resist violence and create a new kind of norm where violence itself becomes unthinkable.” Those interested in joining the march are to meet in the Okotoks United Church parking lot (43 Riverside Drive) by 4:30pm. The walk will leave from there and weave its way around the downtown area before finishing back at the church.

At 5:30pm, the International Women’s Day Potluck Celebration will begin. This will be Okotoks United Church’s 3rdAnnual International Women’s Day Potluck. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating women in well over sixty countries. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality in all its forms – economic, educational, health, and political empowerment.

Carol Price, one of the event organizers, said “This year’s global theme is Press for Progress and here in Okotoks we are doing that through greater understanding of the challenges newcomers to Canada face.” She further invites, “Come with your favorite pot luck dish and join us for a wonderful dinner, and an evening of stories, music, and art, celebrating women’s gifts and talents”. Contact Carol at carol.a.price@shaw.ca to register by March 4th.

 

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