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Young leaders take heart on V-day

Girls Action Foundation hosts 9th National Day of Action

For immediate release

Montreal – February 6, 2013 – Despite the on-going gender gap in politics, government and business, on Valentine’s Day, young women across Canada are showing what it means to be a leader – if not in public office or the board room, in their communities. 

“This Valentine’s Day, just like the last eight others, girls and young women across Canada are shining, as well as shining a light on the people, places and things that can make a difference in the lives of women and society,” says Saman Ahsan, Executive Director of Girls Action Foundation.

“Our action is an opportunity to celebrate love in its multiple forms and define it according to girls’ values and beliefs,” says Rose Siani of La Passerelle-I.D.É, organizer of a community action to showcase the contributions of immigrant Francophone women in the Greater Toronto Area.

She is one of 30 grassroots leaders hailing anywhere from Hornby Denman Island (BC) to Stephenville (Newfoundland) to Whitehorse (Yukon). All are members of the Girls Action National Network made up of women who work on the ground in girl-specific programs or in other ways to support girls’ empowerment.

In the 2013 edition of the National Day of Action, community organizers are stepping up to tell it like it is and call for action in their communities. Whether coordinating an event, presentation or creative arts project, some 30 community actions are being designed to:

  • reclaim community Herstories,
  • celebrate achievements and role-models,
  • promote intergenerational social justice,
  • provide a forum to voice the experiences of racialized girls and young women,
  • raise awareness about violence, self-esteem or body image. 

Here are some examples:

  • Lea’s Place Women’s Resource Centre (Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia): Girls and young women will interview local senior women to learn about growing up in a small rural community. The girls will also learn silk screening from local female artists and create scarves that reflect the unique oral histories.
  • Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (Ottawa, Ontario): A video of interviews will be produced tracing the journeys of girls from Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti, El Salvador, Eritrea and Myanmar. The video will be screened at a local high school and will allow parents and teachers to better understand the perspective of young women who are coping with the legacies of trauma of their families’ histories and trying to reconcile them with their present.
  • Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women (Windsor, Ontario): Young women will perform a drama presentation and a flash mob dance at the University of Windsor and in a shopping mall. The group will focus on domestic violence, relationships, rights and social justice.
  • Golden Women’s Resource Centre (Golden, British Columbia): Through public service announcements on local radio, girls in Grades 5 -7 will explore the people, places and things that make Golden, B.C. a place where they love to live.
  • Antidote: Multiracial and Indigenous Girls and Women's Network (Victoria, British Columbia): Borrowing from the history of hip-hop as a tool for social activism, Antidote is organizing an evening of Hip Hop feminism, Slam Poetry, Storytelling, and Dance with multiracial and indigenous girls.
  • Bringing Youth Toward Equity (Whitehorse, Yukon): This youth group will lead an evening of storytelling about First Nations communities in the Yukon.

“Each of these individual actions speaks for themselves, but put together, they weave a collective story about the concerns and potential of girls and young women in Canada,” says Ahsan.

Organizers of community actions were asked to share their stories, not only in their communities but in a message to girls and young women across Canada. These messages, along with those from other women from across the country, will come together in a Collective Love Letter to be shared on social media on February 14th.

See last year’s Love Letter to get an idea of what’s in store.

See a list of all the community actions on-line

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

Elvira Truglia, Communications Manager & Web Producer

1.888.948.1112

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Girls Action Foundation is a national charitable organization. We lead and seed girls’ programs across Canada. We build girls’ and young women’s skills and confidence and inspire action to change the world.

Through our innovative programs, research, and support to a network of over 300 partnering organizations and projects, Girls Action reaches over 60,000 girls and young women. We reach remote, marginalized and urban communities, including those in the North.