On March 8, 2019, women around the world marked International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the enormous gains women have made throughout history. Here in Canada, despite having higher rates of post-secondary education than men, women still make 26% less than men, on average, for full-time work. Women in Canada also live the reality that
one in three women will face sexual violence in their lifetime.
The struggle for women’s rights is an international one, and Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) marked International Women’s Day 2019 by highlighting the achievements and challenges from around the world.
On March 1, Proyecto Cultural Sur Vancouver together with VCSC organized “Mujer y Madre Tierra / Women and Mother Earth”, an event to honour women through poetry, music and dance. This first annual event was held in Vancouver at Britannia Community Center. The program also featured women bravely sharing their testimonials of violence they had
suffered, with the message that women will be silent no longer and are standing up for their rights.
On March 8, VCSC organized an event “Celebrating the Revolutionary Women of Cuba, Venezuela & the World.” The Cuban
Revolution triumphed with strong women leading and fighting, and from 1959 to today there has been what Cuba’s former president and revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, called a “revolution within the revolution”. That is,
women organizing within the revolution to achieve gains such as Cuba having the world’s second highest participation of women in parliament. In Venezuela, during the last 20 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuelan women have also made great advances in all sectors of society, such as healthcare, education,
The event started out with Tamara Hansen, coordinator of VCSC, who welcomed everyone and shared inspiring words about women leading the fight for a better world, from Cuba and Venezuela to around the world. Greetings
via video conference were then shared from Tania Lopez Larroque, the Cuban Consul General in Toronto and two other women from the Cuban Consulate in Toronto, proof of the strong representation of women in Cuba’s diplomatic world, in addition to the Cuban Ambassador to Canada, Josefina Vidal. Later on in the evening, words of solidarity were also shared from Tatiana Vizcaya, Second Consul at the Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Vancouver.
The program continued with words from Azza Rojbi, a VCSC organizer, who recently returned from Venezuela as part of a youth brigade. Azza shared the experience of meeting Venezuelan women leaders who are defending their Bolivarian Revolution and resisting imperialist intervention. The event then featured three poets from Proyecto Cultural Sur Vancouver - Lucy Ortiz, Macarena Cataldo Hernández and Alejandro Mujica-Olea. They shared their beautiful and
heartfelt poetry, both in English and Spanish, on the strengths, struggles and challenges women face.
The evening then featured the phenomenal music of Bouna Vedere & the Band. The exceptional singer and performer is a former member of the two times Grammy Award winning Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa. Before long the room was up on their feet, dancing and captivated by the joyous and soulful music!
After the musical performance came to a close, participants (out of breath and with big smiles) sat down again and grouped together in teams for the final part of the event… The Team Trivia Challenge! The teams (each
named after a Cuban or Venezuelan women leader) vied for points by answering questions related to women in Cuba and Venezuela, and the revolutionary history of International Women’s Day. In the end, the winning team won bragging rights, but everyone won prizes – which included candies and souvenirs from Venezuela and Cuba!
For more upcoming events with Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, visit www.vancubasolidarity.com or follow on Facebook and Twitter @VanCuba_VCSC
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