Wear orange for advocacy against gender-based violence
Beth Madole (left) and Bonnie Symons of GRAN Northumberland (the Grandmothers' Advocacy Network) help Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier show his support for the United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women with an orange lapel ribbon. CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland Today
Beth Madole and Bonnie Symons of GRAN Northumberland (the Grandmothers' Advocacy Network) are helping to establish orange as the colour of advocacy, as part of an international campaign to turn communities orange as a statement against gender-based violence.
It's a 16-day period of activism that began Nov. 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and will run through Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
Initiatives include the orange lighting of public buildings and distributing posters and orange ribbons.
The colour comes from the United Nations Secretary-General's annual campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women through world-wide awareness and creating opportunities for discussions about challenges and solutions. The campaign uses orange as a unifying theme to symbolize a brighter future.
Following a presentation to Cobourg council in October, Symons and Madole have been distributing posters and ribbons in the downtown area, as well as spending some time giving out ribbons at the Cobourg Community Centre.
“We were really encouraged by the response we received from the parents and young people there,” Madole said.
“That's what this is all about — raising awareness of the issue of violence against women and girls — and that is why GRAN is supporting the UN campaign.”
The CCC is also the site of a public lighting, with facilities manager Harry Jeschke earning their gratitude for shining an orange light on the three flagpoles in front of the building.
In Brighton, they were pleased to learn that municipality is bathing its municipal building in orange light.
The official website has a listing of buildings so illuminated, and the very prominent CN Tower is one of them.
Symons and Madole have created 150 orange ribbons by hand, and they are starting to make a dent in their supply. On Monday night, six of them will adorn the lapels of Cobourg councillors as they gather for their committee-of-the-whole meeting.
It's not a typical ribbon campaign, where donations are often proffered in exchange for the ribbon. No funds are being raised, Madole said. The GRAN members are only trying to get the conversation going.
Having their recent CCC visit coincide with big hockey and volleyball events was a plus in that regard, she added, because a lot of people from out of town were present.
“Many of them were young parents with little kids. They were really on board, which is lovely.”
Symons and Madole will be returning to the CCC for another event or two, and hope everyone who receives an orange ribbon will wear it prominently displayed.