Windsor teens set to march for equality

Students in a high school feminist club said the club wasn't quite welcomed with open arms, but after two years they feel like they've accomplished a lot.

'I hope that those girls can be empowered the same way we were through this club'

"All women should be free, not just a specific race, specific class, not one kind of women should be free and leave the rest to be oppressed," Lin said. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

In a classroom on the second floor of Honourable W.C. Kennedy Collegiate, teens pick up markers and create signs for the upcoming Women's March in Windsor.

Some are planning to march at the Saturday event taking place at Windsor's City Hall Square to advocate for women's rights.

The students are part of a feminist club at the high school. They say the club wasn't welcomed with open arms, but after two years they feel like they've accomplished a lot. They make sure to be inclusive, and boys are welcomed and have also joined. 

Students in Kennedy Collegiate's feminist club work on signs to march with at Saturday's Women's March at City Hall Square. 1:13

"At the very beginning it wasn't quite accepted because people did have the wrong perception of what feminism is. It's not women over men, it's women with men, equal to men," said Emma Lin, a grade 12 student.

That's something the club has worked on and feels they have gotten through — not just to the administration but to the student body and the community. 

Lin feels that the club has done a lot of good. The greatest achievement so far for her was designing and selling 'Feminist Club' shirts. They raised more than $1,000 and donated everything to the Hiatus House.

"I knew this club would take action in things and that's what I wanted to be a part of," Lin said.

Their work in the school and in the community is what makes her proud to be in the club. She worked on a sign for the upcoming protest that said "No woman is free until all women are free."

Maya Beydoun and Lydia Abraha works on signs that some will be marching with during the Women's March on Saturday at Windsor's City Hall. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"All women should be free — not just a specific race, specific class, not one kind of women should be free and leave the rest to be oppressed," she said.

Soon Lin will be graduating and hopes to become an engineer. She said she knows that it will be difficult for her to enter into a male-dominated field but won't let that stop her from reaching her goal.

"The one thing I've taken from this club is that I really don't care, if I want to do it, I'll do it," Lin said.

Sometimes the range of issues can be overwhelming for those involved in feminism. Lydia Abraha's sign for the march encompasses that feeling. It said "Ugh where do I even start." She was part of the group that helped found the feminist club. She said it's grown a lot in two years and hopes it continues to revolutionize more young women.

Students design signs to wear during the protest on Saturday at Windsor's city hall. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"I hope that those girls can be empowered the same way we were through this club," Abraha said.

The club put together a sports camp for girls in elementary school to help them build self confidence and encourage more of them to get into sports.

"I think one of the biggest things that a lot of us learned was to take our frustrations in things that are going on and empower young girls," said Abraha.

Maya Beydoun also helped found the feminist club at Kennedy. She's in grade 12 now and sais it has helped her to grow as a person and an activist.

"The club helped me to be okay with sharing my opinion, to not be afraid of sharing my voice despite what feedback I may get," said Beydoun.

Beydoun will be at the march this weekend and said it's especially important because it's an opportunity in a smaller city to have their voices heard. She's urging everyone to join in the march.

"It's going to be something unforgettable. You're taking part in a revoultion. You're taking part in a very important movement. And I feel it's just going to be totally worth it."