Activism

In wake of Trump, activists in Halifax speak out for human rights

"We're feminists, we're fabulous; we're fabulous, don't mess with us."

Rally co-chair, Dawn Ferris, speaking to the crowd.   Alexandra Biniarz

“Do you feel it? The magic that is right now,” asked Rebecca Thomas, Halifax’s poet laureate. 

Thomas’ poetry set the tone for the Women’s March on Washington solidarity rally in Grand Parade on Saturday, Jan. 21.

In the poem, Thomas continued to say that even when she “was told how a woman should behave … I’ve never been good at playing that game.”

Rebecca Thomas, Halifax’s Poet Laureate, holds a sign saying “this pussy has claws.”   Alexandra Biniarz

Thomas was one of 10 speakers who led the rally, which was first conceived as a solidarity march with the Women’s March on Washington this weekend. Similar acts of unity have been held across the globe in places like London, Chicago and Sydney. In Halifax, organizers chose to express their alliance by hosting a rally, instead of a march — so that people with mobility issues could participate.

Activists in Halifax not only grouped to protest the new U.S. president Donald Trump and discuss women’s issues; they also rallied for animal rights, LGBTQ rights, religious freedom and more environmental protections. Trump has been criticized for his remarks about women, Muslims and immigrants, and for his denial of climate change

Protesters carried signs with slogans like “Climate change [is] real. Our rights are not up for grabs.” Another attendee, Amanda Noade, carried a sign saying “women are not for your consumption.”

Noade brought her baby daughter, Maggie Scott, and kept the sign strapped to her stroller.

Speaking to The Signal, Noade called her daughter “a future ‘nasty woman,’” making reference to one of Trump’s debates against failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, where he called Clinton a “nasty woman.” The remarks sparked an outcry over sexism in the campaign, and inspired Clinton supporters and feminists to reclaim the term with pride.

More than 500 people attended the protest in Halifax. At one point Rad Rhythms began drumming a beat and singing, “we’re feminists, we’re fabulous; we’re fabulous, don’t mess with us.”

Mi’kmaq Elder Marlene Companion and Grandmother Carla Silver opened the event giving a blessing. As the two cleansed the rally area through smudging they said, “whatever your belief is, share it with your brother and sister.”

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