International Women’s Day happened this past Sunday March 8th. On Friday I went to Panel for International Women’s Day hosted by Amnesty International U of T.
The panelists were Mayo Moran, Marina Nemat, Samra Zafar, as well as the president of Amnesty U of T, Francesca Elliott. Mayo Moran is currently the Provost of Trinity College and was previously the Dean of the U of T Faculty of Law, Marina Nemat is a bestselling author for her book Prisoner of Tehran and a human rights advocate, and Samra Zafar is a U of T alumna and Founder and Director of Brave Beginnings.
Each panelist shared their personal story and discussed issues of activism, education for women and girls, and problems facing women in Canada and around the world. The panel also discussed the role of social media in activism, women in politics and leadership roles, and discussed barriers to students getting involved in activism.
Before the panel started everyone at the event had the opportunity to write on a board to answer the question “what keeps you from getting involved in activism?” The answers ranged from “time commitment,” to “shyness,” to “feeling like my actions don’t matter.” Some of these really rang true to me, especially time commitment (I think we can all agree March is the most hectic month in terms of school work) but the experiences voiced by these women really illustrated the importance of activism and getting involved, even in the smallest capacity, in affecting real change in the world.
The event included performances by some very talented musicians, including the Innis College Choir (who sang Eye of the Tiger to the delight of everybody in the building), guitarists Michael Le Ruggiero & Ross Au, and flutists Fievel Lim & Amy Zhang.
The evening ended with a letter wrIting campaign to help prevent abuses of women’s rights in Spain and Russia. Writing letters is one of the biggest ways that Amnesty is able to pressure governments to uphold human rights around the world.
This event was really fantastic and inspiring and I’m really glad that I took some time out of writing assignments to attend.
What about you, U of T, have you gone to any inspring or noteworthy events lately? Let me know in the comments below!