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On Saturday, January 21 an estimated 1,000 people gathered at Hamilton City Hall in support of the Women’s March on Washington. While reasons for attending were diverse, protesters were unified by their desire to stand up against the rise of hate and discrimination in politics in North America.

“We stand here together in solidarity. We stand with one another, for one another, for ourselves, and for strangers, for people who experience similar and different lives as us,” said Shahzi Bokhari, co-organizer and speaker at the March representing the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. “It takes work to unlearn and relearn, to support ourselves and others, to stand up for ourselves and others […] We are so much more than the labels thrown on us.”

We found 5 important signs from the March, that should impact our social and political discourse as we unlearn and relearn.

1. Who are Immigrants?

Unless you are an indigenous person, someone in your family came to North America as immigrant. It was either you, your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents or… you get the picture. The same hateful rhetoric we hear today towards Mexicans and Muslims was once said about the Italians and the Irish. Let’s work to understand each others’ cultures more, and learn to respect people who are different from us.

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2. Stand up to Inequality, Discrimination and Marginalizing

It is no secret that inequality, discrimination and marginalization exist today. They are rampant not just around the world, but in our own country too. Racial, economic, and gender inequality won’t go away without resistance.

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3. Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women – You Are Not Forgotten

In the past three decades, it has been estimated that well over 1,200 indigenous women in Canada are missing or have been murdered. The Government of Canada launched an independent national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls – but that’s not where it ends. More needs to be done.

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4. Diversity Matters

Diversity is something to value and celebrate – but it goes beyond that too. Canada’s diversity makes us who we are. But our diversity needs to be reflected in positions of powers: in boardrooms, head offices, in spaces that decisions are made.

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5. Define Equality

When people demand equality, what does it mean? Here is the dictionary definition: The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Synonyms: fairness, equity, egalitarianism, impartiality, justice.

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