Women’s march organizer shares her experience By; Fatima Baig

2016, United States elections caused a lot of people in the United States and across the world to be shocked by the results. After the results, many protests were held across the world in resistance.

Kavita Dogra was one of the many who were shocked by the results.  Dogra was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She spent time in India where she was exposed to human rights issues. However, that wasn’t the only way she was exposed to human rights issues. Dogra’s mother was a local member of a Non-Governmental agency (NGO) though that she learned to help people in any way she could. She said, “My sense of empathy and passion to do something meaningful in life certainly comes from her.”

She was inspired by the Women’s March in Washington on Jan. 21, 2018.  At that time a march in Toronto was not being held. Dogra said, “I knew I wanted to be a part of the resistance. It was not possible for me to go down to Washington so I met up with a friend to discuss the possibility of organizing something in Toronto.” She was able to contact the organizers of the event through social media as a result Dogra became an organizer. “They were happy to have me on board because I had some experience organizing events.” She met with her friends and they discussed organizing something in Toronto. Dogra said, “It was an opportunity to stand in solidarity with women in the United States but also to highlight local issues impacting the city.”

The hope for Dogra and the rest of the organizers of the women’s march was not to feel alone and defeated by the results. Dogra said, “We wanted them to be surrounded by others who felt their anger and disappointment and most of all we wanted to use our platform to raise awareness about local issues.”   The guest speakers at the march were people who fought for justice and rights. Dogra said “We put on the podium people who fight for rights and justice in our own city and our goal was to get people excited about getting involved and making a difference in Toronto”

. She is also the founder of We Talk Women, which is an organization that hopes to start a conversation as well as break the silence that most often surrounds women’s rights injustices and sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Dogra founded the organization after watching a documentary on women who experienced sexual assaults in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. She started noticing that not many people within her network were talking about advancing equality or women’s rights in general. She said, “It felt like people had become complacent and accepted things as they were.”  Dogra said, “We Talk Women predates the mainstream popularity of feminism and the Me Too movement.” She is proud of what We Talk Women has been able to accomplish. Dogra said, “I’m proud that through We Talk Women I’ve managed to inform and inspire a few people over the years.”For Degra, in the start, it was tough to get people out to events and engage online about issues. However, as long as she informed and inspired somebody, she was content. She said. “my goals were always humble, if in the end I had informed and inspired just a handful of people to take action, I was content.”

During her time as an activist, one of the challenges Dogra faced was getting the spotlight for a short period of time and then having people move on from the issues. Dogra said she overcame that by “Keeping people’s interest and attention on a variety of issues and making people understand how different issues intersect is a challenge.” Dogra advice to people who have a desire to learn is to nurture your desire to learn. Do some research, find people whose work you respect and learn from them. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you accept them as an opportunity to grow and reflect.”

Dogra believes in order to get involved in human rights it’s important to have a support system and practise self-care. She said, “Getting involved in human rights issues can be very heavy and a strain on your mental health so establish a support network and learn how to practice self-care.” The next women’s march here in Toronto will be held on Saturday, Jan. 20

Author: fatimabaigblog

Fatima is the author of Fatima’s Journey which details her life as a two time liver transplant recipent. it is available on her website www.fatimabaig.com. She has a Bachelors In Journalism and through Journalism she hopes to keep the public informed and give a voice to those who aren’t heard everyday.

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