Resources for Coun. Terry Whitehead

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At a Hamilton city council meeting on Monday, Councillor Terry Whitehead used the words ‘ripping and raping’ to talk about moving jobs off the mountain to downtown.

Terry: Rape is violence. Violence that mostly women and children live through. Words matter. Words have meaning. Especially when we’re talking about sexual violence. But you weren’t talking about sexual violence and that’s why folks are upset.

Ending rape culture is hard. We all make mistakes. It’s what we do when we eff up that counts.

We’ve put together some resources about why words are important and how folks can help to end sexual violence: Continue reading

Taking Action to End Sexual Violence

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Ending sexual violence feels like a GIANT task, but there are small things that you can do every single day to work both to create a culture of consent, to stand up against rape culture, to question victim blaming, and to support survivors.

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  • Learn more about sexual violence – Listen to survivor stories, how abusers use power and control, how different forms of oppression intersect, recognizing rape culture happening every day, what enthusiastic consent looks like. So much to learn!
  • Practice your consent skills – It’s not just for sex! Asking for a hug or checking to see if you can take someone’s photo is a great way to practice consent every day.
  • Think and prepare – Treat bystander intervention like first aid! Read up on what you could do before situations happen. Talk with friends, read articles, brainstorm ideas.
  • Take ACTION! – Now that you’ve thought about it, use one of your many tools to challenge oppressive or sketchy behaviour.
  • Speak OUT! – Create a video, zine, piece of art, write a blog post, post articles and infographics, talk with friends.
  • Support Survivors – Listen to them. Believe them. Ask them how you can help.

Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Call SACHA’s Support Line to talk about how you can take action every day – 905.525.4162.

The Need for Feminist Zine Fairs

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By Amy Egerdeen

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The Need for a Feminist Zine Fair

We started organizing the first ever Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair (HFZF) around the need for a space that celebrates the voices of folks who are traditionally isolated and ignored, and engage in a larger conversation about feminist zine-making and self-publishing.

We started working towards the HFZF with previous feminist and social justice minded zine fairs in mind – the Philly Feminist Zine Fest and the NYC Feminist Zine Fest specifically, as well as the amazing Toronto Queer Zine Fair. These fairs were total inspiration to us – spaces that prioritize feminist, queer, and other typically marginalized voices.

We put the HFZF together with lots of their values in mind, and with feedback from these fair’s co-organizers. Talking to these zine fair organizers – who also all make their own zines –helped us to further build community between zine fairs and zine-makers, and learn more about what is going on outside of Hamilton / southern Ontario.

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We asked all applicants to the HFZF to talk about why they thought a feminist zine fair might be important. The answers confirmed the need for a specifically feminist space for zine-makers – they talked about the isolation of internet-based publishing, and the need for a physical space for community building; they wrote in-depth about feeling ignored or othered by traditional zine fairs, and the way the major zine fairs were dominated by the same voices; there was excitement about the possibility of a new space with opportunities to connect and collaborate with other feminist zine-makers and self-publishers.

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The HFZF included a zine fair with 40 vendors, diverse all-day workshops, and a collaboratively-made zine by the attendees and tablers of the HFZF. There were tons of stand-out zines and projects being showcased: two of the zine-makers tabling that day – Luisana Alejandra & Anamaria V. de Caballeros, a mother-daughter collaborative project – had their zine, Women of Action, about “women empowerment and civic engagement”, which includes everything from a basic overview of the Canadian political system to a discussion about abusive relationships specifically geared toward women newcomers. Another zine-maker, Asha Ali, brought her zine The YPJ – about “the female brigade of YPG, the people’s protection units in the Kurdish territory of Syria… an all women, all-volunteer Kurdish military faction.” (from Asha’s HFZF application). It sold out within the first half of the day.

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In the collaborative zine we made during the fair, we asked tablers and attendees to answer the question: what does your ideal feminist community look like? The answers echoed the same need for feminist community in zine-making: the need for support, the excitement of building bridges in our communities, the power that comes from making our voices heard, collectively and as individuals.

Look out for the next HFZF, coming fall 2015! More opportunities for celebration and collaboration, and a space to discover new zines and the amazing folks making them.

Find out more about the Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair here!

Originally published on Broken Pencil’s blog.

Say Yes to Consent Education

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Guest post by Sam Godfrey, a member of McMaster’s Student Health Education Centre ‘s executive

“What’s sex?”

I propped myself up on my leopard patterned pillows, taking a bird’s-eye view of my mother from my top bunk. If she was taken off guard by the question, she didn’t show it. Resting her chin on folded hands and speaking softly, my mother gave me a calm and patient introduction to sex.

Since then I’ve received many versions of ‘The Talk,’ but no matter who was teaching – be it friends or instructors or HBO – there was always something missing.

There are a lot of ways to have sex involving a myriad of types of people and versions of body parts. Some sex is gentle and loving, and some sex is rough and lustful. Some is between two or three or more people, and some is solo. Some sex is complex and inventive and creative and totally magically unique. Some sex is not.

But for all its diversities and possibilities, there is one thing that is absolutely intrinsic to sex: consent.

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BIPOC Zine Making Grant!

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Guest post by e.war, coordinator of the Arrow Archive and Look Mum! Distro

The Arrow Archive has the goal to educate the communities around us about zine making and about zines general.

We started the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) zine marking grant because we want to send the message that zinester BIPOC voices are important and invaluable to the zine making community. Also we want more folks to make zines, or try out making a zine for the first time. grant web color We started with the question: why don’t people make zines?

Our answers are these: they don’t know what they are, they don’t know how to make them, or they don’t have the time. We  also asked the question: whose voices are rarely heard in zine making communities?

We know there are BIPOC zine makers out there! What a better way to connect with and encourage marginalized voices then for them to self publish their thoughts and ideas then making that sphere more accessible with funding. Now, it’s a teeny tiny amount of money ($100) but it could be enough to pay for an hour or two of work and a few photocopies.

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Gender and STEM: From Legos to Learning Code

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SACHA is speaking about Gender and STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – today at CREST – Current Research in Engineering, Science, and Technology. (So many acronyms!)

CREST is put on by the awesome folks at WISE – Women in Science and Engineering.

Here are some of the links, videos, reports, and articles that we talked about.

To get excited for the discussion we watched the amazing panel from the What Makes a Man conference – Gender in Tech: (Un)Learning the (Bro) Code.

We started with Emily Graslie of the Brain Scoop’s amazing video ‘Where My Ladies At?’

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Ladies Learning Code in Hamilton

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This week we’re focusing on women in tech since we’re speaking at CREST – Current Research in Engineering, Science, and Technology – this Friday.

Ladies Learning Code is a not-for-profit organization that strives to be the leading resource for women and youth to become passionate builders – not just consumers – of technology by learning technical skills in a hands-on, social, and collaborative way. Classes are run in 21 cities across Canada from London all the way up to Whitehorse.

SACHA chatted with Meg Smith, a local web designer and the Hamilton Chapter Co-Lead of Ladies Learning Code. Meg  got involved with LLC when she attended an LLC event and was so impressed at the inclusive environment, the ease of learning and how inspiring it was to see other women working in the industry already.

Why is it so important that women learn code?

I wouldn’t say that it’s important that all women must learn code, but more that it’s important that if they want to they should have a barrier-free experience doing so.

We strive to create a safe, supportive environment where women (and men!) can learn to code and gain the confidence to keep going.  Continue reading