By Lincoln DePradine
When thousands of women across Canada and the United assembled last Saturday for marches to highlight women’s rights issues, Black activist Sandy Hudson felt that it was crucial that she not only attended the Toronto protest but also addressed the crowd.
“It is imperative that people hear the voices of Black women at these international marches,’’ said Hudson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Toronto.
The annual march started in the U.S. following President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017. Each year, placard-waving participants and speakers have tackled a range of issues such as sexual harassment, gender equality, reproductive rights, immigration, LGBTQ rights, Indigenous rights, and racial equality.
A major target last Saturday of Toronto protestors, who gathered in frigid temperatures at Nathan Phillips Square and then marched to Queen’s Park, was Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government that was elected to office last June.
Farrah Khan, a gender-based violence expert, charged that the Ford administration “does not support women’’.
Yasmeen Persad, a transgender Caribbean-Canadian woman, urged protestors to “think about the trans women of colour who are not here today because of systemic violence’’.
Hudson, in an interview with The Caribbean Camera, underscored how important it was for her to be at Saturday’s activity.
“I think that oftentimes, in the past in women’s movement protests, the voices of Black women and other women of colour have not been properly reflected and acknowledged; the very particular experiences that they go through. So, it was very important for me to address the crowd,’’ said Hudson.
She highlighted challenges that confront domestic workers and “discrimination that women go through in their workplaces’’ as some of the commonplace experiences of Black females.
Hudson also pointed to the gender wage gap as another serious issue of concern to Black women. According to Statistics Canada, 75 cents is the average amount earned by full-time working women in Canada for every dollar earned by men.
“It’s crucial that people know that the situation is far worse for Black women,’’ said Hudson. “It’s typical for Black women to earn about 50 cents to every dollar.’’