Garden of Joy – Celebrating International Women’s Day

During the week of International Women’s Day, Canadian Women of Colour Leadership Network (CWCLN), Somerset West Community Health Centre, and Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition united to host a collaborative event. The centerpiece of the gathering was the impactful Netflix documentary “In Our Mother’s Gardens,” which beautifully showcased the resilience and strength of Black women and their families. Throughout the event, insightful excerpts from the film were shared to stimulate reflection and spark meaningful discussions among our panelists.

We had the privilege of welcoming exceptional speakers, including Maria Cristina Sabourin Jovel, also known as Queen María, Zeinab Kahin, and Danielle James-Stehr, who graciously shared their wisdom and personal journeys. Facilitating the discussions with skill and finesse was Nagad Hersi from Somerset West Community Health Centre, whose expert moderation ensured a productive exchange of ideas. Additionally, invitations were extended to our audience members to engage, fostering an inclusive dialogue that embraced diverse perspectives.

CWCLN Founder Sophia Jacob delivered a heartfelt ancestral land acknowledgment. Her words resonated deeply with all present, underscoring the significance of recognizing and honoring our shared heritage.

A special thanks and recognition goes to Michelle James from Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition for her pivotal role in orchestrating this collaboration, as well as the Women’s Mental Health program at the Royal Ottawa Health Centre

This International Women’s Day event served as a platform to celebrate the resilience and fortitude of Black women and femmes, while also shedding light on the ongoing journey towards gender equality. It underscored the transformative power of collaboration and community engagement in driving meaningful social change.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, let us reflect on the remarkable achievements of women and femmes and continue to strive for a more inclusive and equitable society. The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024, “Inspire Inclusion,” serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of embracing diversity and fostering unity among all women.