Violence Against Women Awareness Walk
Violence is posing a major challenge to social development and to the achievements of the targets agreed to in the Sustainable Development Goals. Violence against Women including sexual violence in the region is a dimension of the larger problem of crime and violence and continues to be a serious concern at the levels of community safety and citizen security.
While VAW attracts attention from government and non-government players, WE recognize that interventions seldom address the plight of the LBQ woman who is already discriminated against and doubly vulnerable given inadequacies in our law and a fractured criminal justice system. As part of its thrust to raise awareness about VAW while creating a space for LBQ and other women to be part of the conversation about an issue which disproportionately affects them, WE-Change hosts an awareness walk during the #16DaysofActivism annually.
Every year the theme and concept for #HerLegacy changes but the event has always aimed to highlight the work being done by women in society who are contributing to social justice advocacy and the fight against gender-based violence.
WE-Change used this event to recognise local and regional women who have made significant contributions to gender equality in the region and create conversations around the same. It is an opportunity for intergenerational conversations, engagement and recognition.
Aside from powHERful women leaders, WE also attempt to pay special tribute to women in spaces that are not always acknowledged: women in families and women in communities.
During the 16 days of activism, organisations and individuals around the world conceptualise and execute various activities all in the hope of spreading awareness of and bringing an end to Gender-Based Violence and its intersectionalities. #OrangeLights aims to raise awareness about GBV and move each of us to action as we work toward reducing violence.
The event brings people together to discuss solutions to the pervasive issue of Violence Against Women in a safe, inclusive space using different forms of art.
Women’s Empowerment for Change is led by women and the work WE do is primarily focused on increasing the participation of LBT women in social justice advocacy, reducing homophobia among caregivers and duty bearers and creating alternate, safe spaces for LBT women. Events like #OrangeLights give us the opportunity to not only raise awareness of GBV but to explore the intersectionalities which exacerbate the problem for women in general and LBT women in particular.
This Side of Paradise
Since 2016, WE-Change has hosted This Side of Paradise; a performing arts event during Jamaica's Pride celebrations (Pride JA) which run in the first week of August. The event features literature, spoken word, book readings, drama, poetry and music all performed by LBQ women and our allies. The work shared during this event is meant to empower LBQ women and celebrate strong, powerful and talented queer women who live, work, survive and find some semblance of paradise in a Jamaican society which often treats them as second class citizens. It is the only event on the Pride JA calendar which brings the LBT community together to celebrate.
This Side of Paradise
For the past three years, This Side of Paradise has been headlined by powerful, queer Jamaican authors and activists who reside abroad. The name of the event was inspired by the name of a book written by Stacey Ann Chin who headlined the first staging of the event in 2016. Stacey Ann, a poet, activist and mom shared excerpts from her book and shared the stage with other LBT women and allies. In 2017 it was headlined by d’bi young anitafrika who, through her spoken word performances inspired women who are survivors of multiple forms of violence to stay the course and to create bodies of healing around them. Nicole Dennis Benn, queer Jamaican author of the award winning novel, HERE COMES THE SUN and 2019 novel PATSY headlined the event in 2018.
All events received overwhelmingly positive feedback, on and offline with over 150 persons attending the 2017 event and segments of the event posted online receiving over 75,000 views.