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Women fight for rights and protection: Take Back the Night

Hundreds of people were gathered in the streets of downtown Ottawa on the evening Sep 22 for the annual rally and march Take Back the Night.

Rally started at Minto Park with three special speakers sharing their experience of sexual assaults at 6:15. Later on, march began and the procession went through ByWard Market, Rideau Center and finally went back to City Hall. Participants were mainly women, which came from different community groups including Ottawa Coalition To End Violence Against Women, Women’s Initiative For Safer Environment and so on. Every marcher’s enthusiasm did not dampen by the heavy rain and low temperature in the night. Volunteers whistled rhythmically and marchers shout the slogans, like “women’s body, women’s right, we will not be terrorized” and sang the song “Against Sexual Violence Towards Women”. More than that, some of them held signs that read, “Long Live Proletarian Feminism”. The march lasted for an hour.

“We come together to advocate for women, to make them feel safer at night, to proclaim the right for avoiding sexual violence. Women should not be afraid of men. We all have to make sure that women feel safe.” an English teacher, Ruth Lee, explained the reason for her participating.

“I was scared of walking alone at night time. Now I come to this, I feel a kind of braver. It feels like a lot of communities are protecting us.” Noshin Rahman, a Carleton student majored in Women’s and Gender Studies shared her feeling after this rally.

Take Back the Night is an international event that originated in Europe in the early 1970s. In current practice, Take Back the Night events not only include women but also men as victims, bystanders, and supporters. This event is typically held for every third week of September across Canada. It is about women reclaiming the right to walk without fear, particularly at night. At the same time, it enables large number of women to fight against sexual or domestic violence and raise community awareness as a prevention measure.

“Taking back the night is refusing to stay silent when a friend is street harassed, refusing to accept blame for an assault against refusing, refusing to shame a woman for simply being a woman, refusing to believe the myths we tell girls and women about sexual violence” Bailey Reid said. As the founder and chief executive officer of Sisters Achieving Excellence, she attempts to empower other young women to be the best they can be.

1.1: Women went to the streets fighting for their rights (Photo by: Kunqin Wang)
1.2: Human of Ottawa's Capital: stories & feelings (photo by: Kunqin Wang)
1.3: A girl is curious about the mask and put it on her face (Photo by: Kunqin Wang)

Third Asian Fest brings Asian cuisine and culture to Ottawa

The Third Asian Fest is held through Friday to Sunday at Hilton Lac-Leamy to celebrate Lunar Year Festival. Winter Night Market brings Asian cuisine and culture to Ottawa-Gatineau.

Simon Huang, the organizer of Asian Fest, and his partner prepare five months for it after Chinatown event. Around 5,000 guests come in first two days and many of them are non-Asians. Food, performances, and decoration improve a lot comparing to previous years.

“Our goal is to give Ottawa a taste of something unique and memorable.” Huang said.

Cuisine types are various, which range from Vietnamese pho, Hong Kong stinky tofu, to Korean Kimchi rice, and Taiwan fried chicken.

“We get the chances to promote our business, especially for the local. The type of food we offer here is so different than people see and buy on the streets.” Ye Zhao, the vendor, was busy on serving the guests.

This is the third-time performance for Jane Lu, an Award Winning singer. She said

she felt more respected and welcome here than Toronto when she was warmly cheered on the stage.

Majority of the performances are involved with Chinese elements, like Lion Dance and Ancient Costume Fashion Fhow. Other than that, K-pop Dance and taekwondo originated from Korea are popular among teenage audiences. Shuhei Nagasawa, mixed Japanese, top 16 of Voice of China, is the special invited performer.

“We also want to promote Asian culture in heritage within the other areas. We found out that some Asian artists in Ottawa are under-representative. We try to give them more opportunities to perform to the general public.” Huang said.

Photo booth is a new area for this year. Many guests like dressing in Asian traditional costumes and taking photos in front of ancient background. Also, they write down the new year wishes for their families and hang them on the wishing tree.

“I’ve been to Asia few times because my wife is Filipinos but not all people have opportunities to go. This is a really good place to introduce something new and interesting for people who would like to learn more about the culture.” Günther Schönfeldt, a guest came with his family from Vancouver, was seeking for a proper height to hang on the wish envelop.

Most guests regard this event as a celebration in advance for Spring Festival. The government has proclaimed 15 days after the first day of Lunar Year as official Spring Festival starting from 2017.

“This makes me feel at home.” Tianlang Feng, who has left China for two years, enjoys being a volunteer for this event to touch Chinese culture in a foreign land.


Kunqin Wang

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