Each year YWCA Canada holds the Rose Campaign to lobby federal and provincial politicians on issues around violence against women.
The campaign kicks off on November 25, the International Day to End Violence Against Women, and runs until December 6, our National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This year’s theme is “Roses and Bread” – with a focus on getting government to create a homeless plan for women.
“Violence is the biggest cause of women’s homelessness and homelessness leaves women in greater risk of violence,” said YWCA Communications Director Corinne Rusch-Drutz, “And there’s a clear relationship between women’s homelessness and missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Our message for this year is very simple: every woman needs a safe home. Period.”
Each year the Rose Campaign gets a bit bigger and involves more people across Canada.
“It’s really grown leaps and bounds in the last few years,” said Rusch-Drutz. “It started as just a button campaign but we refreshed the button a few years ago and added a take action message,” she outlined.
The button campaign continues and like-minded organizations can buy the buttons at half price and then sell them as a fundraiser.
Now the campaign consists of multiple events, including the annual breakfast on the Hill for MPs on November 25. This event will feature CPAC’s Katherine Clark discussing women’s violence and poverty. Following the breakfast is a lobby day on December 2.
“On December 2 everyone can visit their MP and call on them to observe the Throne Speech promise to address violence against women,” said Rusch-Drutz. The YWCA will be making lobbying kits available for people who would like information and assistance setting up meetings with their MPs.
This year the YWCA has also put together a bunch of easy ways for people to get involved online. You can “send a rose” to your Member of Parliament by entering your postal code on the Rose Campaign website.
“We also have a whole online store with products that create opportunities for people to take action in their communities. There are postcards and a series of videos with survivor-advocate stories. Obviously the idea is that you don’t just do this on December 6, but that you carry that message year-round,” added Rusch-Drutz.
For some really easy ways to get involved and bring in other people from your social networks to raise awareness of violence against women and poverty, add a rose Twibbon to your Twitter or Facebook picture, share the Rose Campaign website on social media, and/or embed a Rose Campaign badge on your website or blog (like the one on the right).