This Week in Feminist News: March 27-April 2

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 Tunchai Redvers

Tunchai Redvers

  • The struggles of indigenous youth in remote northern communities has been well documented. One such young person has a message for her peers and that is that ‘we matter’. Tunchai Redvers and her brother started a campaign called, We Matter. They use messages from First Nations people and public figures to start a conversation about mental health and suicide. To learn more and support this campaign, check out We Matter and donate to the cause. (CBC)
  • Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ response to misogynistic and racist comments made by her white, male colleagues went viral for many reasons. Namely the chord it struck with other working women of colour, these comments are nothing new. Dr. Avis Jones-Deweever outlines these struggles in her powerful editorial piece, You Mad? Black Women, Work and the Normalcy of Disrespect. In her words, “It happens because they must attempt to diminish who you are in order to even have a chance at outshining you. But in spite of all, keep doing you, Boo. In the end, the cream always rises to the top.” (NBC) If you want to read about more about the powerful work of black women, here are eight black feminists you need to know about. (NBC) Also, check out Dr. Jones-Deweever’s book, How Exceptional Black Women Lead.
  • This week in the military-industrial complex, the military is facing a couple PR issues. The Royal Military College of Canada issued a 227-page report investigating the cause of low morale amongst the cadets. They cite various administrative and institutional causes but fails to mention the culture of bullying and sexual assault. Gen. Jonathan Vance even goes so far as to say that there are no systemic issues with the institution regarding suicide and sexual misconduct. This is in spite of the report released in 2015 that investigated issues of sexual misconduct and found that sexual assault was an ever present risk. But hey, we all know that structural issues can be cleared up in a couple of years. (CBC)
 Alida Satalic was interrogated and had to undergo a medical examination to determine whether she met with the military's definition of being homosexual when she worked as a postal clerk at CFB Trenton. She accepted a release from military service designating her 'Not Advantageously Employable' in 1989, according to court documents. (LGBTPurge.com)

Alida Satalic was interrogated and had to undergo a medical examination to determine whether she met with the military's definition of being homosexual when she worked as a postal clerk at CFB Trenton. She accepted a release from military service designating her 'Not Advantageously Employable' in 1989, according to court documents. (LGBTPurge.com)

  • Luckily, the Canadian Armed Forces had a chance to prove this in 1992 when LGBT members were allowed to serve openly. I’m sure by 1994 all of the people who were wrongfully terminated were given their jobs back and were compensated generously for loss of livelihood. Well actually, here in 2017, lawyers are working on three separate class action lawsuits against the federal government on behalf of military members and civil servants who were fired due to their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. They are currently building a case and looking for plaintiffs who were affected. The lawsuit is seeking punitive and moral damages for the violation of charter rights. (CBC)
  • It’s that time of year again, Federal Budget time! With that budget, comes an opportunity for every news talking head and journalist to show their stripes by telling us Canadians what this all means. There are some excellent budget analyses by the CBC and the Globe and Mail. I’m not going to pretend that we at ToFemCo have all the answers but we are hopeful about the spending dedicated to First Nations peoples, child care, affordable housing, and infrastructure. Although, there is a notable lack of taxation on the very rich. Time will tell how PM Trudeau’s budget stacks up and who ultimately benefits. (CBC and Globe & Mail)
  • The Sunshine list is here again; this annual report publicizes the salaries of public sector employees who make over $100 000 a year. In spite of the controversy that surrounds this report and the public ire it is meant to inspire; there is another lesson we can learn. The wage gap is alive and well. Only four women made the top 20 spots and the most common names are traditionally white, male names. It is important to note that income inequality has a greater impact on women who make less money, women of colour, and transwomen, in other words, the women this list leaves behind. One lesson we can take from this list is that transparency is a valuable tool to fight the wage gap. Women need employers to be transparent about the salaries of their employees and themselves. (CBC)
 So many white guys...

So many white guys...

  • Trump (Drumpf, if you’re nasty) is at it again, plotting the destruction of the world. This time he takes aim at Mother Earth by slashing President Obama’s administration’s efforts to fight climate change. He signed various executive orders to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, dismantle the Clean Power Plan, approve the Dakota Access Pipeline/Keystone XL Pipeline, rollback fuel efficiency standards, and remove scientific thought from the scientific community. That last point is key because Canadians can recall the scientific gag order imposed by former PM Harper and its effects. Trump is attempting to do the same by removing all talk of climate change from the government and trying to clamp down on scientists. Although, lest we forget, scientists will keep on fighting the good fight as long as they have fingers to type with and an ocean that is still rising. (National Geographic)
  • This week in radio highlights, the CBC did a story about the increased number of people attempting to claim refugee status in Canada. They are crossing the US-Canadian border outside of legal ports of entry in an attempt to circumvent that Safe Third Country Act which requires refugees to make a claim in the first country they land in. The CBC’s The House investigates the impact this Act is having on refugees, small Canadian towns, and law enforcement. Side note: shout out to the welcoming people of Manitoba who are starting groups to support incoming refugees. (CBC)
 Amy Bleuel – Project Semicolon

Amy Bleuel – Project Semicolon

  • Amy Bleuel was a strong mental health advocate and survivor who founded Project Semicolon. She has recently passed away at the age of 31 although her profound legacy and work will continue. In 2013 she asked those affected by mental health struggles to draw a semicolon on their wrist and post to social media. In Amy’s words, “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” Her goal was to give a voice to people and show others that they are not alone. Moreover, this movement educated society by publicizing the impact of mental illness and how people cope each day. Amy wanted to start a conversation that cannot be stopped. You did. Rest in power. (CBC)