In the news: Zonta Club of Niagara Falls: Hands across border to fight violence against women

Stephanie Thompson, a member of the Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, will be participating in the Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign, Tuesday. Everyone is welcome to attend | ALISON LANGLEY/Niagara Falls Review

Stephanie Thompson, a member of the Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, will be participating in the Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign, Tuesday. Everyone is welcome to attend | ALISON LANGLEY/Niagara Falls Review

From the Niagara Falls Review:

Both the Horseshoe and American Falls will be bathed in an orange glow Tuesday night as women from both sides of the border come together to address violence against women.

“People really need to be aware of what’s going on in our communities,” said Christine Filipowich, president of the Zonta Club of Niagara Falls.

“Violence against women is not something that happens outside of our communities. These are the people we work with, the people who live in our cities. If it’s not in your life it’s easy not to see it and recognize it but it really is right beside us.”

The Zonta Club of Niagara Falls is part of Zonta International, a global organization of executives and professionals working together to empower women through service and advocacy.

The local club, along with the Zonta Clubs of St. Catharines, Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, New York will assemble at the Table Rock Welcome Centre on Tuesday to mark the Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign.

The international campaign is designed to raise awareness about violence against women and girls around the world and to work toward its end.

It also coincides with the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign.

That campaign focuses on cultures of violence, sexism, racism and homophobia and calls for the implementation of human rights obligations as well as other global issues.

“Zonta is very alined with UN mandates and, as a club, we’ve been challenged to come up with creative and new ideas on how to promote and participate in UN initiatives so we thought ‘why not light the falls,'” said Stephanie Thompson, a member of the Niagara Falls club.

The Niagara Falls event will begin at 9:30 p.m. with a series of guest speakers – including Joanne Raymond, governor of Zonta District 4 which is comprised of 39 clubs in Ontario, New York and Pennsylvania – followed by a candlelight walk at Table Rock.

The falls will be bathed in orange at 10 p.m.

In addition to the walk, the event will include a reading by spoken word artist and singer/songwriter Vanessa McGowan. Also, Jackie LaBonte, from the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, will discuss the REDress Project, which draws attention to missing and murdered aboriginal women by displaying donated red dresses in public.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event and organizers expect between 50 and 100 people to participate.

The Niagara Falls club meets once a month and new members are always welcome.

Meet at Table Rock at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday for guest speakers. Participants will receive an orange “Zonta Says No” scarf. After speakers, candlelight walk at Table Rock. At 10 pm, Niagara Falls will turn orange for 15 minutes.

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