Students invited to join Mar. 8 hybrid event to learn about carceral and shelter systems on International Women’s Day
Bridget Stringer-Holden // News Editor
Alisha Samnani // Editor-in-Chief
Valeriya Kim // Illustrator
The Women and Gender Studies (WGST) and Geography departments at Capilano University (CapU) are partnering with the Toronto-based Shelter Video Project to plan this year’s events. The afternoon consists of a feature-length screening followed by a panel discussion on the impact of urbanization, gentrification, poverty and incarceration on marginalized women, trans and non-binary individuals.
The feature-length documentary, We Want You To Listen, is an experiential look at the discriminatory and violent nature of the shelter system. “It’s really about touching on issues around gender, insecure housing, precarious employment and gentrification,” explained Kirsten McIlveen (she/her).
Mcllveen, who teaches in both the WGST and Geography departments, says the panel discussion will help create connections between topics discussed in the film and the carceral continuum — the ways in which forms of social control extend outside prison walls into other parts of society.
“What’s often missing in our knowledge base and in so many of the narratives is this lived experience knowledge of being on the margins,” said Mcllveen. “Even though [Shelter Video Project is] based in Toronto, it has resonance for Vancouver — [both] two of the most expensive cities in Canada.”
The panel will consist of people with lived experience in the shelter and/or incarceration systems — two from Vancouver and the rest from Toronto — all of whom have experienced institutional violence. “International Women’s Day (IWD) is a chance to draw attention to [these sorts of] gender issues because we’ve all been impacted by bias, by stereotypes, by discrimination and by these intersectional oppressions and differences,” said McIlveen.
Despite the risk of increased stigmatization, they are sharing their stories in an effort to help raise awareness and create a just society. “Part of this work is to give public space — and in our case, public academic space — to those with experiences that often are not told or heard,” said Mcllveen. “It’s a global day of celebrating and speaking not just to the achievements that people have, but also taking action against gender inequality around the world.”
IWD gatherings date back to the early 1900s when women began actively campaigning against oppression and inequality. With original dates varying between February and March, eventually it became Mar. 8, which remains to be the day upon which IWD is celebrated. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias.
Anyone is welcome to join virtually via Zoom (https://capu.zoom.us/j/63310037439, Password is shelter) or in LB322 on Mar. 8 at 4 pm — no RSVP required.