Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Voting is a privilege

As elections approach, it is critical to remember the impact of community voice and the strength of a vote, even on a municipal level.

People around the world rally, campaign and fight for the right to vote. To have a voice that is recognized within their government. They are fighting for the right to contribute to the decision making process of their country.

In places like Canada and the United States, the right to vote is devalued and taken advantage of. People don’t take this opportunity to practice their rights, as members of a democratic society, to ask for answers and demand change from their municipal, provincial and national leaders.

In developing countries the right to vote can be a cause of death. It is a privileged to have a voice that is recognized within a political structure and be given the right to demand change.

Practice your rights of freedom. Use your voice, demand your rights, strengthen your community and vote.

Change happens in small steps, one community at a time.

Related Sites:

Vote! It's your Agenda An online information tool for election information in the Belleville, Quinte Area.

A good use of social media!

Have something to say to your mayoral canditates?

Belleville running NDP candidate Jodie Jenkins announced he would be using YouTube to engage voters for the upcoming provincial election, reports The Shield.

This is a great example of using social media to strengthen community voice and encourage participation.

Get involved, ask questions, get answers, get results.

Young voters to ask questions via YouTube

For an example of what to expect: YouTube Debates

Monday, October 4, 2010

“The Women United.”

What do they want? Freedom. When do they want it? Now.

On September 30th women around the world gathered together in solidarity to stand up, speak out, demand dignity and march the streets to take back the night.

Take back the night is an international awareness campaign that has been taking place around the globe for over 30 years. Locally, this event has been running for over 18 years and more than 75 women, children (and male supporters) met in market square downtown Belleville to rally in support of the fight to end violence against women.

Elise Hineman of the Sexual Assault Centre for Quinte and District says the purpose of the march is to bring awareness to these issues and for women to gain the confidence to stand together in solidarity and take back their rights.

“Sometimes women are forced to hide in fear and tonight we are taking back our rights… we are marching together to end violence against women.”

The rally included music by local musicians, presentations on the history of the event and a special word from author and poet Karen Dack who is a survivor of abuse and sexual assault.

Dack read her poem called “It's time” where she speaks of living in fear as a victim of assault and of the time she gained the strength and support to recover.

“Why should I be ashamed of what happened to me?” Dack says. “I didn’t choose it and I was lucky to have the support I did to recover from it.”

Dack shares her experience as a victim of sexual assault and has written numerous books to provide other women with the strength to stand up for their rights.

Every day women around the world are forced to walk the streets in fear and are in a constant state of vulnerability because of their gender. Each year hundred of women are victims to sexual, physical and mental assault. In 2004, one hundred and ninety eight women were victims of homicide within Canada alone.

Mary Jane Breault, a past chair of the Sexual Assault Centre for Quinte and District, participated in the awareness campaign and says the purpose of these marches is to remind people that abuse exists and is still out there. Creating awareness is the first step to prevention and walking together in unity and in support of these victims is an opportunity to take back what was lost and make sure it is put to an end.

Numerous local organizations including Three Oaks, Women Foundation, and the Sexual Assault Centre for Quinte and District were all essential partners in the awareness campaign and fight to end violence against women. Many of these members have been involved for numerous years and together with the community, are making the streets safer for all women.

Photo Credit: Liam Kavanagh-Bradette