Local activists to hold Kingston Women’s March this weekend

Kingston City Hall. Kingstonist file photo.

This weekend, local activists are holding the Kingston Women’s March in downtown Kingston. Join them at noon on Sunday, Jan 22, 2023 as they march around City Hall, and host speakers in Confederation Park.

Held in solidarity with women and gender-diverse people’s movements internationally, and here at home in Canada, organizers said that the march is about reproductive rights, and so much more.

“A non-exhaustive list of these causes includes: justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2 spirit people; the Ontario government’s continued attack on the bargaining rights of workers, primarily women, in the public sector; the limited access to reproductive healthcare in Canada; the Iranian Women’s Revolution; and the movement against the Roe vs Wade judgement in the United States,” organizers said in a media release, dated Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.

According to the release, the master of ceremonies and first speaker will be newly elected City Councillor Wendy Stephen. Other speakers include Donya of the Iranian Association at Queen’s, Marilyn Birmingham, a retired Nurse and lifelong activist, and Martha Williams, who, organizers said, has spent her life fighting for equity for all marginalized groups.

“There is still work to be done in Canada, as well as abroad, to protect and affirm our right to reproductive justice,” stated Cate Patterson, local activist and one of the organizers of the march. “We would like to emphasize that access to this kind of healthcare is especially hard to come by for Indigenous, rural and poor women, who are usually forced to travel to have access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare.”

Patterson noted that Canada’s healthcare systems still “puts the burden of finding and funding access to this healthcare on the individual,” and said that we can and should be doing better to ensure everyone has access to these life-saving procedures. “Financial accessibility is a further issue in Canada, since abortion is not covered while out of an individual’s home province, despite the significant waiting period for switching healthcare coverage that most provinces require,” she added.

Organizers noted that rather than praising ourselves for being better than the United States, “we must turn our efforts to ensuring Canadian people have a fair and just reproductive healthcare system, as well as standing in solidarity with our American neighbours who no longer have this.” Everyone who “cares about women and gender diverse people’s rights, at home and globally” is invited to attend the Kingston Women’s March from 12 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.

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