Starting off the Global 16 Days of Activism Campaign, 16 men from the Moose Jaw community spent last night in the cold to raise money for Transition House.
The event was organized by Jared Mathieson, an instructor at Sask Polytech who is on the board of Moose Jaw Transition House.
“It’s a team effort,” he said during the evening of Nov. 24. “This is a great group of guys coming together to support Transition House and start the 16 days of activism.”
The goal of the event was for each of the 16 to raise $500 for Transition House.
“How this relates to Transition House is really important,” said Kevin Pilsworth, with the MJ Police Service, and who sits on the Transition House board. Pilsworth said that many people aren’t aware of the work done by Transition House, and that “lots of nights, it’s full to capacity. I know that for a fact.”
Although Transition House receives government funding, Mathieson and Pilsworth agree that community contributions are also crucial.
“Moose Jaw has been incredibly supportive of Transition House,” Pilsworth said. “They’re always needing more… Us being out here tonight is nothing compared to what people go through that are in crisis. This is a small way to try and acknowledge it.”
Each of the men wore white ribbons and affirmed the White Ribbon pledge to “never commit, condone or remain silent about all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.”
As of about 10:30 p.m. last night, the group had raised $27,000 – their goal was $8000. Donations are still being received.
Jenn Angus, executive director of Moose Jaw Transition House, said that the fundraising is “huge, it means so much to us. It’s going to support those programs that we have to raise money for. All the extra programs in the community to raise awareness, to increase outreach, to increase resources for women and children. These are just good men who are willing to stand up against violence.”
This year is the 30th anniversary of both the White Ribbon campaign and the Global 16 Days of Activism campaign. Both campaigns raise awareness of gender-based violence, and especially of violence against women.
The 16 men represented a variety of businesses and leadership positions in the community. They huddled around a fire in the parking lot of WOW Factor Media from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. with just the clothes on their backs, recognizing that women and children can face similar circumstances when they are forced from their homes by violence.
“Last year, (Transition House) had over 100 women and children… They get over 300 crisis calls a year,” Mathieson said.
Geoff Anderson, general manager of the Moose Jaw Co-op, is the third male member of the Transition House board. His reaction to the fundraising idea was that “It made sense. A lot of women are unfortunately displaced from their homes, and not always in the summertime. A lot of times it’s in the winter… and we wanted to recognize the hardship.
“It’s to recognize that gender-based violence against anybody, but specifically against women and children, is something that we are 100% against. By men like us standing up to that… we hope to do some good,” he said
Moose Jaw Transition House and the Moose Jaw Police Service both have white ribbons available for supporters. Donations to Transition House can be made directly on their website.
The full list of participants was:
• Geoff Anderson – Moose Jaw Co-op
• Kevin Pilsworth – Moose Jaw Police Service
• Jared Mathieson – Saskatchewan Polytechnic
• Joel Pinel – Vize Labs
• Jamey Logan – City Councillor and owner of Strictly Fences
• Taylor Carlson – Moose Jaw Pride
• Mark Gilliland – Metis Local and ACT Club
• Paul Busse – Moose Jaw Fire Department
• Kyle Sereda – Moose Jaw EMS
• Scott Paquin – Kinsmen Club and RBC
• Adam Dowling – RBC
• Dustin Swanson – Prairie South School Division
• Kelvin Turberfield – Holy Trinity Catholic School Division
• Ira Dales – Ifrix Solutions
• John Iatridis – The Mad Greek
• Brett Williams – Cypress Paving
• Sebasten Halvorsen – ACT Club (Sebasten was there to support Mark Gilliland)