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“I don’t think that only one person can change things”: Why people attended Toronto’s women’s march

By Roxy Kirshenbaum| Photography by Roxy Kirshenbaum

Hundreds of women (and a few men) gathered in Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday to mark the anniversary of last year’s Women’s March on Washington. This year’s gathering wasn’t purely about nostalgia, though: activists around the world have been energized by the #MeToo movement, meaning this day of mass feminist protest could be the start of an annual tradition. Here’s what attendees had to say.

 

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Clay Janzen

22, student from Cabbagetown

Why are you here today? I’ve been increasingly interested in Indigenous studies and the injustice of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I’d be looking for world peace.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Pat Daley

63, retired person from Athlone, Ontario

Why are you here today? I’ve been an active feminist since I was about 17 years old, and so all the issues are pretty close to my heart. Particularly the basic equality of women, the rights of women, and respect for women and our ability to have independence and successful lives and careers.

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If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I actually don’t think that only one person can change things. If I had infinite power and infinite financial resources, I suppose I would support movements and help people organize and bring about change collectively.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Alena O’Sullivan

29, office manager from the Annex

Why are you here today? I’m here to support equal rights and standing up for those who don’t have as loud a voice as others.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I would try to help out our Indigenous population in Canada and around the world. Well, maybe not around the world. I sound like Miss America.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Felicia Hi (left)

29, florist from Queen West

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Why are you here today? I’m here because in the last two years I’ve been in situations where I felt at a disadvantage because I’m a lady. It’s unfortunate that so much shit has happened. Hopefully some change can come out of that.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I would make everyone go to university and maybe take a women’s studies course.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Mark Nieweglowski

40, software developer from the Entertainment District

Why are you here today? Climate change. I haven’t driven or flown in 15 years, and I don’t think anyone should. Zero emissions means zero emissions.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? More solar power, more wind power, more of everything else besides carbon.  

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"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Alex Zhang

30, accountant from Dundas West

Why are you here today? I’m interested in issues like labour practices. I think there’s a lot of overlap between women’s issues and minority issues, and anything that I can do to help progress our mutual issues is to our benefit.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I’d let new moms stay home from work for as long as they need to.

 

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Julie Buchanan

56, chair of Democrats Abroad, from Brampton

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Why are you here today? For women’s right to choose, more than anything else.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I would get women elected.

If you could pick any woman to run for a high political office, who would it be? Elizabeth Warren.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Kenneth Sherman

81, retired property manager from Hamilton

Why are you here today? I’m here to try to find any U.S. citizens who live in Canada and register them to vote back in their home state.

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If you had infinite resources, what would you change? We would run an international campaign to impeach Donald Trump.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Julia Friesen

26, e-commerce worker from the Annex

Why are you here today? I’m marching to encourage my representatives to fight for free birth control. I think that 50 per cent of the population shouldn’t pay for 100 per cent of the population’s family planning, and without insurance it’s really expensive and bullshit.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I would lobby the government to make birth control more accessible. I would also lobby the government to make gender-affirming surgeries more accessible to trans folks, and then obviously I’d lobby to make it law that you have to pay women the same as men.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Emma Herrle

15, student from Oakwood Village

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Why are you here today? A few months ago someone legitimately treated me differently because he knew I did not have a penis, and that bothered me a lot. I’m here again because I realize that that is the reality for so many people every single day.

If you had infinite resources, what would you change? I’d educate everybody.

If you could pick any woman to run for a high political office, who would it be? I think that Michelle Obama is absolutely iconic. As for here in Canada, I don’t know them by name but the people who work for the nonprofit Sistering? I think that they deserve a bigger voice than they have.  

"I don't think that only one person can change things": Why people attended Toronto's women's march
Sarah Ferland

26, social work student from Waterloo

Why are you here today? Social justice for everybody. And to end every horrible thing that we have in our society.

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If you had infinite resources, what would you change? There needs to be more housing for people. There need to be equal opportunities for people to go to school, so they can have better opportunities.

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