Tag Archives: public space

Launch of « Why Women? »

7 Mar

On the 28th of February, they were a small yet to-be-reckoned with group of youth at the Côte Vertu metro station, chanting slogans such as « Your mom is a woman! », and carrying placards which read « What would you do without women? ». Without a doubt, the confused STM staff won’t forget them anytime soon…

The young activists

The young activists

The girls from Cardinal high-school came supported by a group of their friends to manifest peacefully around the metro station, to ask for respect for women and girls, the end of harassement and youth profiling in the neighbourhood, as well as freedom of speech.

Arriving at the metro

Arriving at the metro

While there, the girls (and their very supportive guy friends 🙂 also distributed copies of « Why Women? » to passersby. Speaking of passersby, they were sometimes amused, sometimes curious, but also kind of … well .. not cool.

Hawa holds a placard, while Sabrina is holding the magazine

Hawa holds a placard, while Sabrina is holding the magazine

Some people thought we were part of those « irritating red squares », because of which a well intentioned STM employee kindly asked us to manifest calmly, « more like women » (« because that is your cause, right? ») to avoid any confusion with other student protests. To this we bit our tongues really hard to make sure the youth could continue their peaceful march, but oooohhhhh how we would have liked to underline we WERE a student group and that there is nothing wrong with that, red square or no red square. And don’t even get me started on that « manifesting like women » bit ! (end rant)

so proud :-) Berekhya, one of us animators, and Santa

so proud 🙂 Berekhya, one of us animators, and Santa Félicia

On that note, this is the close of the « My City, My Safety! » Cardinal project chapter. It is a little bittersweet for us, to have supported the girls in producing something beautiful and profound, but also to always want to keep doing more things with them, for longer. We can only hope that these young women will continue being inspired and inspiring (scratch that, we know they are!!), in their lives, and for other young women and girls.

And this may be the end of the project, but hey, let’s keep touch, right ladies 😉

To be continued…

Fourth workshop at F.A.C.E!

18 Jan

Just as municipal governments and other local decision making bodies should take into consideration the needs and recommendations of ALL different users of public space, it is important for all citizens to be sensitive to other Montrealers’ experience of the city.

On January 25th 2012, the group of teenage girls from F.A.C.E high school participating in My City, My Safety! prepped for an upcoming activity during which they will meet with Montrealers belonging to a group of citizens that are traditionally excluded from public space (to be continued in February!).

To get into the groove, we played a little game: each girl snapped and printed a picture representing herself. Then, individually, the girls wrote on a piece of paper a memorable thing she had experienced that her other friends would be unaware of. In turn, every girl picked a paper belonging to one of her friends and stuck it under the picture of the person she believed the experience belonged to.

Even though the girls thought they knew each other well, few of them actually got the answer right!

Indeed, even if we know someone well, there are always things we don’t know and cannot guess, life stories that belong to that person only. If this is the case for their fellow students, friends that they see everyday, then it must ring even more true for perfect strangers! This brings us to the importance of understanding that a person’s life experience and perceptions belong to that person only, and the importance not to pass judgement. This was an important lesson for the girls, but would be too for anybody who might one day have to make decisions that would influence the daily life of the population.

We finished the workshop by identifying the location for the next safety audit walk: the girls indicated places where they feel unsafe or unwelcome in Down-town Montreal with the help of stickers on a map. The final route was chosen in accordance: in February, we’ll conduct a safety audit walk on Saint-Catherine street, starting at the corner of Papineau, going all the way to Saint-Denis.