Twelve-year-old Brooklynn Brennand raised a sign that read “#TimesUp” with a drawing of Beyoncé on it as she marched and chanted “no justice, no peace” alongside hundreds of others in downtown Regina Saturday morning.
“I feel proud because I’m doing something that’s good for the world and good for everyone,” she said with a smile.
Like hundreds of thousands of others marching around the world Saturday, Brooklynn said she was at the Women’s March, in part, to raise awareness of sexual violence against women.
“I hope (people passing by) see our signs and think, ‘Wow, we should really stop this,’ then they can make sure their friends and the people they know know, and then it’ll just spread on so everyone knows we shouldn’t do this,” she explained.
“I marched for my daughter and women all over because I think it’s time that we all stand up and realize that this is a problem and it continues to be a problem,” said Elanna, Brooklynn’s mother.
“Women’s rights are human rights and I think in Canada sometimes it’s pushed aside — because we are treated differently as women here than say in other counties in the world — but we still need to make it a point that it’s still not equal. It’s still important and we still need to keep it relevant.”
Regina joined around 40 other Canadian communities marching in solidarity with those south of the border protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial first year in office.
However, locally, most people marched to highlight Saskatchewan’s high rates of domestic violence and sexual assaults, said organizer Krystal Kolodziejak.
“It’s absolutely critical (to march) to highlight what #MeToo brought to the forefront — that suffering in silence and not knowing that it’s happening to so many people,” she explained.
— Jessie Anton (@jessieanton_) January 20, 2018
“Despite all the awareness that has been raised throughout 2017, while there’s been some progress made, there’s still a lot of change that needs to happen.”
Last year, Kolodziejak joined a Canadian delegation that travelled down to Washington, D.C. to walk in its Women’s March. After discovering there was going to be a world-wide anniversary march, she reached out to the city’s YWCA to begin planning one in the Queen City.
Now, after seeing hundreds of people — of all different races, religions, abilities and sexualities — take to the streets of downtown Regina in unity, Kolodziejak said she anticipates it will be an annual event to help march forward the conversation.
“We have a long way to go. I think that’s where a lot of us become complacent in assuming because it is 2018, but there are huge gaps that we do need to fill until everybody can enjoy the same level of safety, freedom and — ultimately — equality.”