Pacific DAWN: Planting the Seeds of Inclusion.
Nothing About Us: From Exclusion to Inclusion brought together over 40 women from across BC and the Yukon to an inaugural gathering in Richmond at the end of May, 2005, ten years after its inception. Attending the gathering were women who were identified leaders in their local communities. Women learned broad ideals about feminism, and specific disability-issues related to Aboriginal women, deaf women and women with mental health issues in the Yukon. Women also spent time learning the techniques of non-violent communication, diversity, internalized oppression and dominance community networking, working with allies, advocacy, media skills and how a similar successful disability group in Courtenay was formed..
We talked about the steps in starting a DAWN group through an excellent manual written by Joan Meister (founding mother of DAWN Canada and Pacific DAWN available on line at www.dawncanada.net ) and began the process of strategic planning led by Angela MacDougall, ED of Battered Women’s Support Services.
Women’s comments ranged from refreshing, to healing, to invigorating to thrilling.
Following the gathering omen will return home and lead the development of Pacific DAWN local groups there. Support will continue to happen over the 1.5 year project through video-teleconferences that will enable the participation of with all types of disabilities..
Thanks for the support of presenters Angela MacDougall, Raj Gill, Penny Goldsmith, Maureen Hoffart, May MacIntyre, Eileen O’Brien, Barbara Findlay, Pauline Rankin, Cyndi Cassidy, Monika Chappell; volunteers Rickay Hogan, Jenna Nightsky and our tireless ally Kelly Derricott who videotaped the entire gathering. The support of the BC Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, the BC Aboriginal Network on Disabilities, Bright Place for Deaf Women of BC and PovNet was invaluable towards the success of the gathering.