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Women focus on racism


Elaine O'Farrell, Windspeaker Staff Writer, Edmonton







Page 2

Native women face two big barriers in their fight for equality; being a woman and being Native, says the president of Women of the Metis Nation.

"From my point of view, Native women have got a double-whammy they share with other women who share with other women who are noticeably different," said Muriel Stanley-Venne.

Stanley-Venne will deliver the keynote speech on racism Saturday to conclude international Women's Week celebrations.

The speech will kick off the annual International Women's Day march held on the theme of racism this year. Participants are encouraged to bring their children and wear a costume

or ethnic dress for the 45-minute walk.

Last year, 250 women turned out for the downtown march which ended with a potluck dinner and dance. Displays and films are planned at the YWCA.

Racism is an appropriate theme for this year's activities since Natives and black women were left out of the women's suffragette movement in the 19th century, she said.

"There was such a class structure in those days that Native women and black women were right at the bottom (of the heap)," said Stanley-Venne, a community marketing officer for the National Film Board of Canada.

And she is dismayed by the recent remarks made by Premier Don Getty.

Responding to a newspaper columnist's suggestion that he was a closed seat-belt abuser, the premier said "I maybe whack my kids, beat my wife, but I've never abused a seat belt in my life."

Alberta women have taken part in International Women's Day events since 1977, centering on such women's issues as affirmative action, sexual harassment and violence against women.

International Women's Day was born March 8, 1957, when women textile workers in New York held a massive one-day demonstration to protest low wages, long hours and intolerable working conditions.

A three-day workshop on "Unlearning Racism and Alliance Building, Leadership Training" will be held for women of various cultures April 28-30 at St. Stephen's College, the University of Alberta.

On April 1, a concert by feminist singer Heather Bishop, with Sherry Shute on bass is scheduled at the Provincial Museum Theatre at * p.m.