Women unite

Great support for 'Take Back The Night’ march in Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Bonnie Learning bonnie.learning@tc.tc
Published on September 20, 2015

Nora Gear (left) and Andrea Webb were two of the 60 people who turned out to show their support for the annual Take Back The Night march, held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Sept. 18. The two say its an important cause and makes women stronger.

©Bonnie Learning/The Labradorian

Rain and cold did not dampen the spirits of over 60 people on Sept. 18, as they gathered at the Women’s Centre on Grenfell Street for the annual ‘Take Back The Night’ march.

Charlotte Wolfrey is the coordinator for the Status of Women for the Nunatsivut Government.

Before leaving for the march, Wolfrey rallied the women in attendance.

“I’m really glad that I could be here for the march,” said Wolfrey, who lives and works in Rigolet.

“We’re marching because it is every woman and girl’s right — no matter where you are in Canada — to feel safe in your own community.”

She said they are also marching because every woman and girl in the world should have the right to feel safe.

“We remember all the places in the world where women don’t have that right,” she said. “It is unacceptable to live in fear — women unite, take back the night.”

With purple t-shirts proclaiming the message and handmade signs declaring their rights to feel safe from harm, the women left Grenfell Street with RCMP and Military Police escort and headed towards the Town Hall.

Partway through their march, the women were joined by supportive men, who waited at the provincial courthouse on Hamilton River Road.

“I think it’s an important cause and my wife took part in the march, so I came out to support her, too,” said Leo Drake of his decision to march with the women.

Sandy Kershaw, executive director of the Mokami Status of Women Council (MSWC), said she was very happy with the turnout for the march.

“Considering the weather, I was very happy to see all these people come out,” she said. “We thought a dozen people would come, but we had 60 people come out on a horrible night and it’s been a wonderful show of support for women in our community.”

Nora Gear and Andrea Webb are two of the women who came out to take part.

“I came out last year and wanted to show my support again this year,” said Gear.

“For me, this march is bringing us together and making us stronger,” added Webb. “We are learning to make our voices heard and fight for ourselves.”

A barbecue and entertainment took place at the Town Hall at the end of the march, where acknowledgment was given to the community partners and organizations who helped with the event.

MHA Keith Russell also made an announcement afterwards.

“I’d like to thank Sandy Kershaw for being appointed to the Provincial Advisory committtee on the Status of Women,” he noted. “It’s a testament to all her hard work at the MSWC.”

He also noted in addition to a $2,000 grant given to MSWC earlier this year towards educating young women about violence, the province is providing an additional $1,000 grant to continue that programming. 

Kershaw explained the program is still in the development stages, but they are hoping to work directly with those who have overcome violence in their lives.

“We want to highlight resiliency and strength, from those who removed themselves from violence and those faces of people who support anti-violence,” said Kershaw.