Less Spectacle, More Empathy Needed Says Peterborough IWD Speaker

“The negative is more powerful than the positive.”

“Anger and anxiety are more effective than empathy and compassion.”

But the use of negative emotions like anger and anxiety to achieve goals “is a dangerous thing that is coming to dominate our movement,” said brea hutchison, keynote speaker at the International Women’s Day (IWD) gathering at Seeds of Change in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough March 8.

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brea hutchison, keynote speaker

They are “spectacles” and they’re overshadowing what really counts, said hutchison, a mixed-race Indigenous trans woman who is executive director at  Sexual Assault Centre Kingston.

“It’s the fireworks in the sky. It’s organizing to be seen and heard. It’s being seen as doing good, as opposed to doing good.”

They come in many forms: toxic social media posts, calling out or “cancelling” someone, doxing, taking up space, and insincerity, to name a few.

This is simply “attacking the actors of power, rather than the systems of power,” said hutchison.

“If we build a movement based on these emotions, if we let them win, we will have a very different movement.”

An example of ‘taking up space’ rather than zeroing in on the important issues, explained hutchison, is when people opine about whether Andrew Scheer or Peter MacKay will attend a Pride Parade instead of talking about their policies towards LGBT2Q+.

And an example of insincerity and ‘being seen and heard’ is when a rape crisis centre attends a trans parade, but the same centre refuses to serve trans-women, she said.

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Peterborough’s Older Women’s Network participated in the solidarity march


hutchison feels the antonyms to spectacles are: building and leveraging relationships; challenging the system with sincerity; counting on our youth; and making sure we’re in it for the long-haul, organizing, and “staying at the table to continue getting what we want”, with empathy and compassion at the core.

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The  IWD event, organized by Kawartha World Issues Centre and Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre began with a solidarity march down the main street of Peterborough, followed by refreshments, art work, speakers, and performances. The theme for the day was “Together We Rise”.













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