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Waterloo Region takes part in global march for women's rights

This was the third annual rally

Local protestors in Waterloo Region took part in the third annual Women's March. 

The events are being held across the world to make a call for equality, justice, and compassion for all. 

Protesters braved the chilly temperatures this morning, with the march starting at Waterloo Public Square. For many the cause is too important to miss out on participating in the rally. 

Louisette Lanteigne has participated in these marches for the past three years. She was very excited by this year's turnout.

"I think that women are a lot more educated on the issues that we are facing," she told 570 NEWS. "We're seeing a political discourse, a disconnect between the US governance system and what women want and we are seeing women get together, uniting efforts from all races, from all backgrounds, from all ages to say that we need system change, not climate change, not social inequity. We want to advance into a more reasonable, equitable society with less abuse for all women and all people really."

This year saw as many as 40 groups arranging marches throughout Canada. 

"In 2017, that was the largest single-day protest in American history," Cassie Myers, a Chapter Ambassador with Women's March Waterloo Region told 570 NEWS. "Since then, the goal of the annual marches has kind of grown - and really reflects what we have going on in the Canadian context. The goal of the annual marches is to advocate for legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues. This year, our theme is 'End Violence Against Women' - which includes gender-based violence."

This year the local march worked with some Indigenous and native groups. Many participants wore a red scarf in honour of all of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. 

While excited by the changes brought about by these marches, Lori Campbell, Director of the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, says there is still a lot of work to do. 

"It's about recognizing this issue and that this violence is perpetuated against them and also thinking about it in terms is there's not just missing and murdered but there are people who are targeting and perpetuating violence specifically against Indigenous women and they're murderers and they're people who are in our communities," Campbell tells 570 NEWS. "I want us to think about how our little actions, our daily actions that we take, that we can help stop microagressions, call people out and not support perpetuation of that violence."

While many women were participating, the rally was attended by many males who support the cause. 

Trevor Ray, President of District 24 OSSTF representing high school teachers, attended for the first time this year to lend his support. 

"It's still important because women are still not being treated equally compared to men. Even in Canada, which is one of the most equitable countries in the world, when we see how people are being treated in other countries and around the world it's not fair and it bothers me."

The rally moved inside at its endpoint of Kitchener City Hall with live speakers and music.

With files from Erin Anderson and Phi Doan


Dana Roberts

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