It is International Women’s Day once again and women are gathering. In meetings in the streets, in small groups and large. Quietly listening to stories. Loudly shouting in the open air that big change is needed. We orange the world against violence against women in December. In my city we honour women massacred in their university class years ago in December. We take to the streets in January globally with Million Women Marches. In Canada we remember the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women on February 14th, and we dance globally in synchronized dance as 1 Billion Rising. And today we come together again for International Women’s day. We are no longer satisfied with one day a year to decry the violence toward, the disappearing of, the trafficking of, the forced marriages of, the ban from going to schools of girls and women, the jailing for human rights work of, the hiding the true history of, the antagonism and disrespect of women across this planet. How long will it take to create the change we know is necessary, the change we hold dearly in our hearts from our own experiences? I remember so many early marches, straggly little bunches of women taking back the night in Septembers, out in the streets each March, men taunting us, women chiding us that we were too loud. I remember as those marches got bigger, and as we organized our own news networks, became aware of how many we were, ignoring the threats and missed work opportunities for being one of those loud, too radical women. We began to form our own small presses and put out monthly news. We saw photos, we read stories, passed news to each other and realized that we were not alone, and that women in other places were doing the same.
But now, oh dear sisters how far we have come! That chiding in isolation as if we were asking too much, too soon has been exposed for the excuse that is. Now our voices vibrate with a song so beautiful that those old excuses fall like sand blown into water and cleansed. With the power of being aware of each other we are shifting the tide. Can you imagine what a powerful gift it has been for me to find World Pulse? To find all of you? Now we have streams of news flowing constantly through our Home Base. Now I know that we are truly everywhere working to end violence against women and girls, uncovering and undoing every form of discrimination, reporting on our lives, our work, the resistance we face, the work needing doing. We are undoing every myth, raising every problem, building brilliant solutions. I read about sisters travelling to remote areas to make sure the voices of these women are heard. I read about women building schools for girls, and businesses for women. I read about women organizing escape routes for women, about women believing in themselves for the first time, and getting themselves into leadership positions. And I see photos of you meeting each other in person, and can feel the power, and have had the extraordinary experience of having been able to meet some of you in person too. What exquisite joy.
We have created together a new momentum with MeToo, HerToo, TimesUp. We create this new momentum every time we send a story in, every time we sit and hear a woman’s story, and every time we take a stand for a world without violence, a world of true freedom. We have the vision of a world of peace, and caring for the earth, the waters, the forests, the animals. A world with no poverty, no war. This is why we need women in leadership positions. We can see what is called impossible, and we know that we can and must live differently. We are together creating the momentum that will cause that shift.
I will head to our Federal Government buildings tomorrow once again. This time we have been invited inside. But my real celebration is to experience all of you, the power we are generating together now globally through this, our beloved World Pulse, our Hub, our Lifeline to each other. My main celebration of Oranging the World, the January Marches, the February gatherings, the March 8th IWD celebrations, is to experience once again Us, as our stories and photos pour in, as we are visible to each other, taking our loud and global stand, our voices a chorus of music so sweet, so loving, so powerful it sets up a new vibration that we have long waited to experience. Bigger, louder, more vibrant and fuller than ever, I celebrate every one of you and rejoice that on March 8, 2019 we have each other, everywhere.Change starts with a story.