On November 25, 2019, over 1,000 people in our community came together commemoration of International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence and BWSS 40th anniversary. 

There could be no better way to honour BWSS 40-year history. With our community, we celebrated how far we’ve come and how far we have left to go. A historic occasion, marking four decades of grassroots efforts to support survivors and end gender-based violence. 

BWSS 40 Years Later…Event Highlights

filmed and edited by Shyah K. Films

A special reception held in advance of the event including words from one of the founding women of BWSS.

Jan Barnsley spoke and reflecting on the history and creation of the organization at the pre-show reception with Tarana Burke.  

Jan Barnsley pictured here with another founding woman of BWSS, Gillian Walker.

Patricia Massy of Massy Books pictured here with Magnolia, BWSS volunteer.

Opening and territorial welcome by Cecilia Point, member of the BWSS Board of Directors. Cecilia spoke to the importance of the momentous occasion and the vital work of BWSS.

Jennifer Johnstone, BWSS Board of Directors, Board Chair shared the important impact of BWSS and introduced the event Emcee, Angela Marie MacDougal, Executive Director at BWSS.

Setting the tone for the evening, contemporary, singer/songwriter Tonye Aganaba took to the stage with a beautiful and powerful performance. 

M’Girl, an Indigenous singing group graced the stage singing songs and inspiring the crowd. 

40 Years Later…Teaser
filmed and edited by Kharé Communications 

Next up, a screening of  BWSS 40 Years Later… documentary at the chronicling key moments for BWSS in the last four decades. Watch the teaser below! 

Interview with Tarana Burke 
filmed and captioned by Shyah K. Films 

Engaging and inspirational Tarana shared the importance of keeping the movement going. Anti-violence work, as BWSS demonstrates, has been happening long before moments like “me too” and will continue long after. Watch the full interview linked below. 

Leah McFly, Maris Gold and Mamalia gave an electric performance. These three powerhouse queens represented the; reserved, wild and businesswomen of the streets, sharing their strength of dealing with the struggles and joining forces in becoming the “Me too Angels.” 

To end the night, Wildflower, Women of Turtle Island Drum Group closed the evening with the Women’s Warrior song. A poignant moment for a powerful evening.

In her review of the event, Michelle LaFlamme wrote, “It was truly electrifying to share this experience with so many powerful women. As I left the theatre, two themes emerged for me.  The words of Pointe rang in my head, reminding me of a principle that activates my life choices, “our job is to leave something for the next seven generations” and secondly, Burke’s voice as she wisely stressed the importance of “getting the story out of your body” and yes, even this must be done by whatever means necessary”, capturing key moments of the eventful evening.

Read Michelle’s full review here.

BWSS would like to thank everyone who commemorated with us, the 40 years of trans/women and femmes, volunteers, and donors who make the work of BWSS so impactful. 

Thank you to Isabella, This Is It Studios for capturing the event in photos.