“As we were chanting, violence can really thrive in silence. We really wanted to get out here and be visible, and be heard by the community that violence does exist and we’re still working to fight against it,” said Fernie Women’s Resource Centre (FWRC) Executive Director, Lauren Fox.
One individual at the FWRC, Nicky Benzie, was the driving force behind this march.
“I felt that the community of Fernie was ready to have an event like this and it’s the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Centre, so why not really take the momentum of what’s going on in the world and turn it into something we can do here.”
“I want to thank the Ktunaxa and all indigenous peoples in Canada for their continued resistance to colonial violence,” said Benzie. “It is with those survivors that we walk in solidarity with tonight.
“I want to remember the people who aren’t survivors,” she continued. “I mourn with the families of the 148 women and girls who died last year as a result of gender-based violence in Canada. I mourn with the families of the almost 4000 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada. It is with their memory that we walk in solidarity with tonight.”
International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 and officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975. Decades later, communities around the world gather annually to support women’s rights and advance gender equality.
Forty years ago, a group of driven women realized that Fernie lacked a safe place for women and children to go, and seek support for their violent relationships. They mutually agreed they would not be silent and used their voices to create the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre.
Benzie added to this, explaining that people need to be held accountable for their actions.
“For too long I think people in power have just been able to continue that power by holding marginalized people down,” she said.
“We need to have marginalized people’s voices amplified, so that they can speak truth to power, (so that) those people who commit violent acts are held accountable for them.”