65th UN Commission on the Status of Women- Virtual Forum

The Relentless Resilience campaign is going to the United Nations

The 65th UN Commission on the Status of Women is completely virtual this year, which gives you a unique opportunity to attend as if you were a delegate in New York.

Last year, the entire Commission – normally held in New York – was cancelled due to COVID (including Aura Freedom’s event), but we are back virtually this year and want to take you with us!

Register for free HERE to join our team for an amazing two weeks of online feminist events to choose from. Once you register, add our event “Relentless Resilience” on March 18th at 2:00pm to your agenda and we’ll see you there!

United We Stand – An International Panel for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020

United we stand - an international panel on world day against trafficking in persons 2020

Check out one of our favourite events of 2020 (over 9000 views on Facebook!) with our colleagues around the globe working to end human trafficking and advance equity in different ways. Thank you to all our co-panelists and tireless activists fighting for the eradication of human trafficking and exploitation in different corners of the world. Big thanks to Ushoshi Sangupta, New Light Kolkata and Urmi Basu!
 
Check out the full video below or watch it on YouTube.

‘Reclaiming Power’ – A Webinar on Human Trafficking and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada

reclaiming power - a conversation on human trafficking
and violence Against indigenous women in canada

In July 2020, Aura Freedom participated in the ‘Reclaiming Power’ forum for a conversation on human trafficking and violence against Indigenous women in Canada hosted by She Leads from Ontario Tech University. 

Our Executive Director Marissa Kokkoros provided a (very) crash course on what human trafficking looks like in Ontario and spoke alongside our good friend Melissa Compton, a Mi’kmaq Nation social worker, trauma counsellor and Indigenous educator, who spoke about the historical contexts of violence against Indigenous women.
 
Thank you to She Leads for hosting this important conversation!

#MeToo Conference – Iceland

#MeToo moving forward Conference - Iceland

In September we attended the ‘#MeToo Moving Forward’ conference in Iceland on the impact of the #MeToo movement. We attended workshops and sessions led by fellow feminists, activists, academics, and government officials including the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

A highlight was meeting American political activist Angela Davis and engaging with feminists and change-makers from around the world.

The conference was a part of the Icelandic Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019 and organized in collaboration with RIKK, Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference at the University of Iceland.

Standing up for Survivors Wartime Sexual Violence

standing up for survivors of wartime sexual violence

In August 2019, we stood in solidarity with the Sudanese women’s group Kandaka International for Women’s Rights to support Sudan’s survivors of wartime sexual violence.

Our Executive Director gave a talk on sexual violence in conflict and presented an interview she had with survivor Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman (photo below), a survivor of the war in Kosovo and winner of the 2019 Kim Bok-dong Prize.

The sisterhood was alive and well and after all the tears, we even managed to laugh and sing during the ‘photoshoot’.

Women Deliver 2019 Conference

women deliver 2019 conference, vancouver

In 2019, Aura Freedom participated in the 2019 Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, Canada. Aura Freedom was a Bronze sponsor with a gorgeous booth in the Fuelling Station showcasing our work.

Over 4 intense days, our team attended countless sessions and workshops with over 8,000 activists and feminists from 169 countries. Hundreds of feminists from around the globe stopped by our booth to take part in our FEMINIST MOSAIC and we couldn’t love these faces more.

Our Executive Director was featured at the ‘Expert Desk’ as an expert of sexual exploitation and human trafficking and was available to answer questions for media channels and other stakeholders. 

We were also a partner of the Women Deliver Mobilization Canada team, which connected Canadian organizations attending the conference and called for action on gender equality and women’s empowerment in conjunction with the Government of Canada. As a result of our participation, we attended several high-level events with the Mobilization Canada team and advocated with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Honourable Maryam Monsef and other Canadian officials.

Let’s keep the momentum going and the fire lit to make gender equity a reality in our lifetime.

 

‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’ – An Aura Freedom Special Event

walk a mile in my shoes - an aura freedom special event

In May 2019 we hosted the experiential learning event “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” that raised awareness of the root causes of sexual exploitation and human trafficking and honoured survivors and their family members. Supported by the Department of Justice Canada and Lush Cosmetics North America, the event explored how marginalized communities in Toronto (women and girls; Indigenous, Black and LGBTQ2S+ youth; Newcomers, etc.) are more vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation and how communities can empower each other to break the cycle. Guests also learned how Aura Freedom’s Peer Prevention Project is currently addressing these issues.

Through art and music by local Toronto artists, this interactive event communicated powerful messages to over 100 attendees. Survivors of violence and trafficking were honoured at the event by their peers, raising awareness and creating community solidarity. Attendees learned what services are available to them in Toronto through our community partners and where/how they can safely seek help for situations of sexual violence/exploitation.

We even had an impromptu drumming performance by Indigenous musician and Juno winner Brenda Macintyre.

What a night!

Women Deliver Mobilization Canada – Meeting with Minister Monsef

women deliver mobilization canada - meeting with minister monsef

On May 21, we attended an event with The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and International Development, along with other members of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada at BMO Canada to discuss the importance of the upcoming Women Deliver conference and how to keep the feminist movement going in the face of backlash. 

An inspiring morning and a taste of things to come in next month’s massive Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, where Aura Freedom will be exhibiting!

Ontario Human Trafficking Awareness Day – 2019

ontario human trafficking awareness day - Feb 22, 2019

On February 22, 2019, our Youth Team participated in the Provincial Human Trafficking Awareness Day, organized by the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network. With other community partners including FCJ Refugee Centre, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and the Rise Initiative, we spoke on a panel discussing human trafficking on Toronto and how to better support survivors and prevent trafficking before it happens.

Humber College – International Development Week

humber college international development week -guest lecture, photo exhibit & more

In 2015 and 2016, Aura Freedom International was invited to attend International Development Week hosted by Humber College in Toronto where we interacted with a network of organizations, students, and individuals who are just as passionate as we are in contributing to positive change in the world.

We showcased our work and projects at the NGO Marketplace, hosted a photo exhibit and our Executive Director took to the lecture hall as part of a series of speakers where she delivered a lecture entitled “Putting Power Back Into the Hands of Girls: Gender Equality and Development”.

Take a look at some videos of our team at International Development Week below!