Looking back on March

By Mara O'Brien James, CARE Canada's Executive Vice President

Our annual #March4Women campaign is focused on engaging all of you about women’s rights, equal rights, and standing in solidarity with women and girls around the world. For CARE, March is a time to celebrate, to inspire each other on to greater things, to paint a more vivid picture of how we would all benefit from a world more equal.

I’m so thankful I got to walk in the sunshine with so many of you on Parliament Hill just before International Women’s Day. If you weren’t able to walk with us, I hope you had a chance to add your name to our pledge or to sign our petition in the House of Commons. (If not, there's still time!)

Of course, things have changed a bit since then.

The contributions that we each have to make to stop the spread of COVID-19 have set us apart for now. We’re social distancing in our respective homes and communities. Some of us are working remotely while others are called to the front lines in health care and other essential services.

I know we’re each striving day-to-day to find our new balance in our current reality. Work, family, daily life all have new meanings to most of us now. But there are two things that I think remain unchanged.

The first is the understanding that as a global society, we’re only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. As each of us gains access to the same rights and opportunities as others, we become stronger as a global collective.

And the second is that in order to create change that lasts, we simply must come together. And during this crisis, it’s been happening in so many different ways. In communities across Canada, caremongering groups—a play on the term scaremongering or causing undue panic—have cropped up specifically to deliver support to vulnerable community members. We’ve seen leaders of all levels and in all regions collaborating to ensure Canadians have the support they need. Research, data and aid has been sent from one side of the globe to the other in a coordinated effort to minimize the global toll.

CARE supporters at the Ottawa Women's March, March 7, 2020

Some of us are indeed hurting, and I hope that as we come together, the pain will lessen. My expectation is that in a year’s time, we will have gotten each other through this. Maybe we’ll each better understand how it feels to be vulnerable or alone. Maybe we’ll have reached out to those close to us to provide support. Even better, maybe we’ll have reached around the world to provide support and solidarity to others.

I can’t thank each of you enough that helped us make #March4Women. Your steps, your pledges, and your voices make us stronger.

In that spirit, I’ll take this opportunity to highlight the next voice you’ll hear from on behalf of CARE Canada, that of our new President and CEO Barbara Grantham. Barbara is poised to provide ongoing support to the women, girls and communities we serve—especially in these times of crisis.

More than ever, we are together. Thank you.