Kitchener-Waterloo

Anniversary women's march to connect people in Waterloo region in a 'grassroots way'

The women's marches following U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration were held one year ago. Eden Hennessey, who organized 49 mini marches in Waterloo region every Saturday in 2017, has helped organize a much larger march this Saturday in Kitchener.

Eden Hennessey, march organizer, says the sister march she attended last year inspired her

Eden Hennessey says people in the community have been very receptive of the marches held every Saturday for the past year. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

Every Saturday since Jan. 21, 2017, Eden Hennessey has marched for human and women's rights.

She has done 49 of those, and this Saturday, she has helped organize the one-year anniversary march in Kitchener.

The event was inspired by the women's march in Washington, D.C. and an international series of sister marches following U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration. Similar marches will be happening around the world this weekend.

"Definitely we raised awareness for many of the issues we were talking about," she told Craig Norris, host of The Morning Edition at CBC Radio.

"However, it's always difficult to gauge the true impact of something like this. Because you don't see the after effects necessarily."

Community receptive to marches

Hennessey was one of the participants of a sister march last year in San Antonio, Texas.

She said marching alongside people who have lived through apartheid in South Africa and have had female family members who were severely oppressed in their home countries was "one of the most moving and positive experiences" of her life.

Liz Boyle of Guelph is seen here at the Women's March on Washington, D.C., in 2017. She's holding the sign of another woman taking part in the march. (Liz Boyle)

"It was so vivid, it's like it was yesterday," she said.

Over the past year in her "49 mini-marches," she said many different women and men would join each time.

While social activism has the reputation of being "dangerous," she said the people in communities around Waterloo region have been "incredibly positive" in their reception of debate brought forward by each march.

This year's march is not so much of an anti-Trump demonstration than it is "a movement of connecting like-minded people together in a grassroots way to talk about human rights."

"We want people to walk away knowing that this is a community that they are supported in if they advocate for human and women's rights," she said.

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