“Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act.”
-Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General
On Saturday March 23, 2013, WFWP Toronto Chapter held its 7th annual International Women’s Day Luncheon. This year again we followed the theme of the 57th session of the Commission of the Status of Women : Women standing up to violence: Finding ways through, with hope and connections.
The programme was attended by over fifty participants including members from the York Region Police Department, Community Leaders, Notable Authors, NGO leaders as well as numerous WFWP members, families and friends.
The event was held at a prominent downtown Toronto Holiday Inn. The intimate luncheon was beautifully decorated by Valerie Augustine, who donated a raffle gift basket and flowers from Lite it UP, her Toronto based candle company. The hosting hotel graciously donated a complimentary night as a door prize in honour of the WFWP event.
Karlyn D. Percil, Author, Speaker, and Self-love Advocate opened the event. Karlyn, who has also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey network, told her story of how she tried to hide from the shame in her life, shame that others had put upon her. She encouraged all women to know their value and not to let shame rule their lives. Karlyn stated the need to create a culture to break the silence. She continued, that even if you have not gone through traumatizing events, those you know may have…and need help to express their past. Karlyn strongly pointed out all individuals should know their own value, then they would ultimately be able to find joy and happiness and the purpose of their lives.
The second speaker was Bahi Krishnkhanthan, a Motivational Speaker, Facilitator and Psychotherapist. She hoped to raise awareness among all cultures and genders. She shared her experience and the violence that she endured as a young lady and young mother. Fighting to stand up for her rights and for the rights of her young children, Bahi committed herself to end the abuse that she faced. But in the end…she found that it wasn’t the end of the abuse that changed her life. It was the ability to finally forgive the abuser that finally gave her the freedom that she seeked since her youth. She encouraged all of those who had faced abuse…to find forgiveness in their hearts.
The event was closed with the WFWP national President’s Address. Mrs. Lilly Tadin presented the need for women to know the facts. She presented the report from the UN’s Status of Women Conference. In addition she pointed out the violence here at home in Canada…especially towards Aboriginals of both genders. Ending violence against women, one of the UN’s Millienium Development Goals, has not yet been accomplished on the World Level. She stressed that it must be included in any new development framework.
Numerous entertainers performed at the event, including Clear Stone Band, Poetess Nadine Williams, and the Tamale Sisters, with a beautifully a capella selection.
A candle light ceremony concluded the event. A representative man and women lit the first two candles symbolizing a new beginning of a joint partnership. Where violence would no longer be tollerated. The “light” was then passed to candles held by all the participants.
WFWP would like to thank all of its members who invested their time and effort to making this event a success. A special thank you to…Eveline Stewart as MC, Diane Dixon, Jennifer Biscocho,and the many more members who worked behind the scenes…we thank you!