Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living.
There are far too many “memorial” dates in November, beginning with November 8, Indigenous Veteran’s Remembrance Day and traditional Remembrance Day on November 11, every November Canadians spend a vast portion of time grieving for those we’ve lost and reflecting on how to end the violence.
You may have noticed the College’s acknowledgement of November 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance on @camosunprez Social Media and by lighting up the LACC & Young Building Tower in the Trans Flag colours. This was done in response to the CCFA’s request to fly the Trans Flag on the Day of Remembrance, only to learn that Camosun doesn’t have enough flagpoles to do that. If you’re a public institution you can’t just fly whatever flags you want unless you have three, the tallest one for the flag of Canada, the next tallest one for the flag of BC, and a third that must be shorter than both you can fly pretty much any flag you want to.
And then, on the literal heels of that, we have November 25 – December 10 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, when the local Women & Gender Equity Committee, the Camosun College Library Faculty & Staff, and the Federation of Post Secondary Educators’ Women & Gender Equity Standing Committee works together to raise awareness to end gender based violence.
The Government of Canada’s theme for the 2022 campaign of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is ‘’It’s Not Just‘’. The theme is a double meaning: it reminds Canadians of the injustice of gender-based violence (GBV) and brings attention to how society dismisses and minimizes attitudes and behaviours contributing to GBV. It highlights how GBV is not just a private issue, but a systemic cycle that all Canadians have a role in ending. ‘’It’s Not Just‘’ asks all Canadians to take action against GBV by addressing the beliefs and behaviours that perpetuate violence. This campaign started in 1991 to call out and speak up on gender-based violence, and to renew our commitment to ending violence against women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals each year.
You’ve been invited to participate this November 25 through December 10 by stopping by the Lansdowne and Interurban Libraries to:
- Reflect on – and pledge to act against – gender-based violence with the “Dressmaking” collaborative interactive sculptural displays.
- Browse resource displays featuring a variety of fiction and non-fiction works highlighting the impact of, and activism against, gender-based violence in Canada and beyond.
- Unable to make it to campus? Visit the Library’s resource guide for a sampling of scholarly, creative, and activist resources related to violence against women and gender-based violence.
- Check out the Federation of Post Secondary Educators’ resource guide developed by the Women & Gender Equity Committee.
- Follow @camosunfaculty & @camosunlibrary on Insta or read our posts on the CCFA website
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was originally designated in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were violently assassinated in 1960. The day pays tribute to them and urges global recognition of gender-based violence.
Days of remembrance are important, but they don’t mean we can ever stop our efforts to fight the root cause of injustice, lest these and worse horrors are relived. How can we ignore the potential for the War in Ukraine to repeat the tragedy of Holodomor that we commemorate on November 26th this year? Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the fourth Saturday in November is known as “Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day”. This is an official Statute of Canada, S.C. 2008, c. 19 and was assented to on May 29, 2008. It’s a well known fact that women and girls suffer disproportionately in war. Sexual violence is weaponized and precarious living conditions force younger and younger girls out of school into marriage, where they often experience higher rates of gender based violence. Doesn’t seem very just to me.
On December 3, the Defence Team comes together each year to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This annual event reminds us of our responsibility to better understand disabilities, and promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in our communities. Because, in a world dominated by ableism, having their human rights violated is a daily experience for people who face accessibility challenges. That’s not just, either.
Human Rights Day honours the date the United Nations General Assembly’s adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This document sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It is a milestone in the history of human rights, and has been translated in over 500 languages, holding the Guinness World Record as the most translated document. And yet, we see egregious Human Rights violations continuing in Iran as the protesters who chant “WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM” are viciously slaughtered by the Islamic Regime, the attack of the Alt Right on the reproductive rights of our Kin to the south, and right here in Canada the denial of gender affirming medical care and tremendous barriers transgender people experience are far from just.
This December 6 on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women during the 16 Days to remember the women who were murdered during the tragic mass shooting at Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989, we all have a duty to fight the social stigma affecting all women and 2SLGBTQIA+ people, and especially trans people, in order to end the systemic discrimination and gender based violence that occurs based on sexual orientation, sex characteristics, and gender identity and expression. To honour the 16 women who were murdered at Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989, we post lists of them, wear buttons with their names, and call them out during candlelight vigils and we will all remember who they were:
Yet, in what is the most profound injustice of all, little to no action has been taken in response to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry’s Final Report that revealed persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The Final Report is comprised of the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers shared over two years of cross-country public hearings and evidence gathering. It delivers 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians. The Native Women’s Association of Canada conservatively estimated the total number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada numbers close to 4,000 (if I could, I would list them all) and they continue to issue annual reports and lobby the government to act. Because of them, and similar organizations, the government, three years after the report was issued is finally getting started. I know you’ll agree, that’s not remotely just at all.
I implore you, between now and December 10, International Human Rights Day, make a special effort to find ways to ACT! Participate in the Dressmaking activity, donate to one or all of the worthy organizations I’ll be featuring on my social media posts, follow & share. Check out organizations like the BC Centre for Women in Trades and learn more about the “More Than I Bystander” training program that promotes organizational and cultural shifts towards more inclusive, safer and respectful workplaces. Talk to your friends, family, even strangers about #stoppingtheviolence, #16Days, #metoo, #mmiwg, #mmiwg2s, #endgenderviolence, #16daysofactivism, #16daysofactivismagainstgenderbasedviolence, #16days2022.
And lastly, though I wish I didn’t need to add this bit, if you are in an emergency situation, please access 9-1-1 (in Canada), for emergency services in your area. If you are outside of the 9-1-1 service area, please access available emergency services or call a crisis line in your area. You may also want to consult this list of additional support services for people affected by gender-based violence.
Ready to fight? Let’s make it just together.
Lynelle Yutani (she/her/they)
President, Camosun College Faculty Association
Lynelle is a queer, leftist rabble-rouser galvanized to guard the rights of union members and is on a crusade to convince you that you get out of your Union what you put into it. Lynelle serves on the FPSE Ad Hoc Committee for Organization & Job Action, 2022-23 Resolutions Screening Committee, 2022-23 Budget Review Committee, and on the 2022-23 Ad-Hoc Presidents Council Committee for Shared Governance. This year, she will also serve on FPSE affiliate committees for CAUT, the BC Fed, and the Canadian Labour Congress. In her spare time, she’s also the interim Women & Gender Equity Committee Rep.
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