A Love Letter for the Centre for Gender Advocacy

It was spring of 2012, and I remember taking the cool, dark elevator up to the fourth floor of 1500 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., seeking out some means of implicating my restless spirit and newly politicized mind into something meaningful, moving, potent.

I remember sitting on the floor of the office and asking Maya Rolbin-Ghanie endless questions; and her answers must have incited something because I was back shortly after for my first meeting with the Missing Justice Collective, also known as Justice for Missing and Murdered Native Women.

I’ve been organizing with the collective ever since, and this afternoon I was telling someone, on that same elevator, that this is probably the longest I have ever stayed consistently engaged with any sort of organization. There are many details and reasons behind this—the core of it being the incessant, pressing urgency to take responsibility for addressing violence that I know I am in some way complicit in, yet it is also because Missing Justice is such a cohesive, energized and supportive group.

Part of why Missing Justice is able to do the work that we do so effectively is because of the support that we have as a working group of the Centre for Gender Advocacy. This means that instead of exhausting our energy over generating the funds needed for our campaigns, we can focus on the work itself.

The Centre’s support means that we are able to organize two annual marches, as well as speaking events and other ongoing acts of solidarity with Indigenous communities, families and individuals. This small increase in our fee levy will allow the Centre to continue supporting Missing Justice.

The Centre for Gender Advocacy will be asking Concordia undergraduate students for their support in the upcoming Concordia Student Union elections taking place from March 25-March 27, 2014. CSU election ballots will include a referendum question asking students if they agree to pay an increase of $0.08 per credit to support the Centre’s work, thereby raising the existing student fee levy from $0.29 cents to $0.37. This fee levy is fully refundable. This modest contribution will ensure that undergraduate students are full members and participants of the Centre for Gender Advocacy.

—Alisha Mascarenhas