'Even if you have a quiet voice you can still be heard': Women, men, children march in P.E.I. for equality

People from across P.E.I. gathered in Charlottetown to walk in the second annual March for Equality a year after millions of people came together world-wide to protest Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.

'People are carrying the torch of strength and women's strength and equality for everyone.'

People from across P.E.I. gathered in Charlottetown to walk in the second annual March for Equality on P.E.I., almost a year after millions of people came together world-wide to protest Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

People from across P.E.I. gathered in Charlottetown to walk in the second annual P.E.I. March for Equality a year after millions of people came together world-wide to protest Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. 

The theme of this year's march was 'Speaking and Living Our Truths', inspired by the international anti-harassment #METOO campaign and the many women who have come forward to share their experiences of sexual assault, abuse and harassment. 

Organizers said their goal for this year's march was to empower people to speak about their own experiences of inequality and inspire others to do so as well. 

"We have a lot of work to do and every now and then it pays to get together and talk about that and energize ourselves," Mari Basiletti, chairperson of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women said. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"We need to get together and profess that we aren't happy with the unequal things that are going on in our society," said Mari Basiletti, the chairperson of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

She said it's important to bring people together to open up conversations about inequality, including the inequality experienced by women in the workforce, Indigenous women, people who live with disabilities, people in the LGBTQ community and those living with low income. 

"We have a lot of work to do and every now and then it pays to get together and talk about that and energize ourselves," she added. 

Ready for change 

There were nearly 200 women, men and children who walked in the march today. Many people carried homemade signs and wore brightly coloured hats to show their solidarity with the women's movement. 

Megan Dorrell said she came out to the march in part to show her support for Island women in politics.

People joined together to sing a song before they marched through the streets of downtown Charlottetown. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"I'd really love to see us, or women in general, represented more in the House," Dorrell said.

"I think it would make for big change and I think a lot of people are ready for that change now."  

Local musician, Kinley Dowling, also marched in Saturday's event and performed a song called 'Washington', which she wrote after attending the march in Charlottetown last year.

She said this year's theme of speaking truth is particularly important to her because it creates a space where women don't have to feel alone in their experiences of assault or abuse.

Kinley Dowling performed a song she wrote after attending the March for Equality on P.E.I. last year, which she says is inspired by the millions of people who came together in 2017 to protest Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"There's so many women who have kept it silent for so long and I was one of those women," she said. "I just let my story out and it was so freeing and a lot of women felt that when one person tells their story they feel safe enough to tell their story."

"I'm happy that everybody is being heard," Dowling added. "Even if you have a quiet voice you can still be heard." 

'Feeling uplifted'

Basiletti said she was happy to see so many people marching in this year's event and that it's important to see so many women speaking out about harassment and inequality. 

"I think that women's marches all over the country and all over the world and here in Canada gave women a voice to say, 'Yes, we need to speak up, we're not going to be quiet anymore. We're going to say the truth and we're going to talk about the experiences that we've had,'" Basiletti said. 

Nearly 200 women, men and children took to the streets of Charlottetown to walk in the second annual March for Equality on P.E.I. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"I'm feeling so uplifted," Basiletti said. "People here are so strong and people are carrying the torch of strength and women's strength and equality for everyone." 

About the Author

Brittany Spencer

Reporter

Brittany Spencer is a multi-platform journalist with CBC P.E.I.