The rain on Sunday cleared just in time for the sixth annual women’s march in Winnipeg.
About 40 people met outside the Manitoba Legislative Building to bring awareness to issues affecting people across the globe.
Mona Zangana, a legal assistant and student at the University of Manitoba, said she wanted to highlight issues affecting Palestinian women in the Middle East, including barriers they face in accessing education and health care.
“I hope that more people become educated and know about the war that is going on,” said Zangana, who is Palestinian and part of the Students for Justice in Palestine group at the university.
“They can come out to our rallies; they can speak out,” she added, listing ways people can get involved in the cause.
Teruni Walaliyadde said she spoke at the event to educate people about the economic crisis facing her home country of Sri Lanka.
For several months, people there have endured long lines to buy fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine, most of which come from abroad and are in short supply.
“Little countries like Sri Lanka, lots of people are unaware of what’s happening [there] … unless you’re from that country,” Walaliyadde said.
“It is really hard to think that our family — our sisters, our brothers, our parents, you know — they are back home and they don’t have basic necessities to live life.”
Fagie Fainman, who spoke at the event about abortion rights, said it’s important for people in Canada to be aware of issues happening in other parts of the world.
That includes the possibility the United States Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case establishing the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S.
“If they’re not aware of these issues, they’re part of the problem,” said Fainman.
Her late husband, Dr. Jack Fainman, was one of three Canadian physicians who performed abortions and were shot in the 1990s. He survived the shooting, but was never able to return to his medical career.
“We have to be more than aware. We have to be active participants in stopping this nightmare that is occurring,” Fainman said.
She said she hopes people came away from the rally with a better understanding of how abortion access affects people differently based on their socioeconomic status, and how they can get involved in pro-choice advocacy.
“I hope they take away a desire to fight — to join groups, to fight back,” Fainman said.
Vivienne Ho, one of the Winnipeg women’s march organizers, said she hoped for the same.
“We all have to group together and fight. We have all the same struggles. It could be possible that tomorrow, we could be next,” Ho said.
“We need to help them. If we can help somebody, we should help somebody.”