Friday, September 07, 2012
Daughters Day Celebrates and Makes History
Daughters Day took place in Churchill Square. Organized by a grassroots group of community members from different cultures and walks of life, Daughters Day was in the making for over a year. Its purpose is to celebrate the lives and achievements of girls and young women, while raising awareness of human rights abuses against them. The idea actually materialized amongst some older men in the Indo-Canadian community, and it was not hard to get support from other groups and organizations. Almost an entirely volunteer effort, we met regularly to plan the event, as well as two community engagement sessions leading up to it. The first took place on March 8 (International Women's Day) and had an Aboriginal theme. The Carrot Community Coffeehouse was packed to listen to Phyllis Sinclair sing, and then get advice about life from a session of "Ask Your Auntie." The second was closer to Mother's Day. "Rebuilding Lives" featured a panel of immigrant women discussing their experiences, moderated by Global's Lesley MacDonald, as well as a main talk from REACH Edmonton's Jan Fox. Held at NorQuest, it was also well-attended. However, September 1 was the main event. We got a lot of buzz from the media in the two weeks leading up to it. Two days before that Saturday, we got word that Premier Redford would be attending with her daughter Sarah. This shot the buzz to an entirely new level. Over 400 people attended the event, we got lots of media coverage, and lots of positive feedback. What happened? Well, greetings were brought from the different levels of government and organizations like the EPS and RCMP. Four women were awarded as "Daughters of the Year," including our keynote speaker, Karina Pillay-Kinnee, the mayor of Slave Lake. There were performances of dance, drama, and music. I had the privilege of performing the official Daughters Day theme song I wrote especially for the event. Daughters Day is important to anyone who is or has a daughter. All women, regardless of who we are or how old are are, are someone's daughter. We need to keep striving for equality and human rights, especially now in current events where women are being told by men how and why their bodies work - something very "akin" to ignorance. The organizing committee is currently reviewing the event and making decisions about where to go from here. To learn more about our future plans, join our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or keep checking back at our website, which is going to be revamped in the near future.