Approximately 200 people came through the Terrace Art Gallery on Sunday, March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Organized by the Terrace Women’s Resource Centre (TWRCS), the event was filled with music, presentations and reflection as attendees gathered to hear from guest speakers while also learning from one another.
“We had a variety of performers from song, dance plus a lot of poetry and spoken word. We were honoured to have representatives from quite a number of Indigenous households… elders and new generational speakers as well, it was an incredibly unifying event celebrating feminine empowerment,” says TWRCS equity program coordinator Brin Friend.
“We also touched on aspects of community and masculine healing so it was probably the first International Women’s Day that had more of an equity perspective as opposed to a feminist perspective which was really beautiful. It was just a big celebration where people spoke from their heart and gathered together in community and celebration.”
Friend describes the energy of the event as quite powerful to the many people there, who were brought to tears by some of the speakers and their stories. Although it was a celebration, it was also about looking back at the harsh reality that women had to fight through and touching upon the difficulties that still lay ahead, especially for people in minority groups.
“It was rooted in powerful healing messages that really provoked and evoked strong emotionally charged responses, everything was out in the open. This year’s celebrations were a lot more emotional than maybe before,” she says. “There were strong messages of feminine empowerment, strong messages of bodily ownership and safety in the feminine form as well.”
Alongside the recognition of women, Friend says the worldwide conversation around feminism is changing as more people point out the importance of also allowing men to heal and express their emotions — which encourages better communication and understanding between genders to help move everyone forward to a better world.
The conversation also includes all those who identify as women, despite society telling them otherwise and being able to inhibit the feminine energy in a positive, supportive environment.
“I think the conversation of equity will never stop and nor should it. Rather than focusing on dramatic feminism and saying that this is just for women, now the conversation has been evolving to a more equity-based,” says Friend.
“I feel this is really pertinent to engaging and continuing the discussion and understanding that safety for women means healing for men and vice versa. And really promoting solidarity unity and equity through community healing.”
In the Northwest, there are still many obstacles for the community to confront such as the Highway of Tears, violence against women and creating opportunities to enable females to thrive in all aspects.
Friend says there are many organizations in place throughout the region though that are working towards making services available for all genders while also offering holistic support for those suffering from trauma or just looking for a trusted network.
“A lot of programming and communities are now just offering the support and creating a safe space so that’s a real turnaround,” she says. “Changes like this has all evolved from discussions and celebrations such as we had on International Women’s Day.”