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Equality Now Celebrates 25th Anniversary Make Equality Reality Gala

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first_imgEquality Now hosted their annual Make Equality Reality Gala this week at Gotham Hall in New York City.Haim Attends Make Equality Reality GalaThe evening marked the organization’s 25th Anniversary and honored Gucci America President and CEO Susan Chokachi and A Breeze of Hope Foundation Founder Brisa De Angulo. The 2017 gala was Equality Now’s most successful ever and it raised more than $825,000 . It brought together a diverse and dynamic group of change makers, activists, celebrities and philanthropists to celebrate women who are committed to making the world a better place for women and girls. The event was underwritten by Vanguard of Change sponsor, InMaat Foundation.Creative Director Joss Whedon curated the evening’s program which tackled issues of gender equality, sexual violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex trafficking. The program featured performances by: Amir Arison, Nazanin Boniadi, Vinie Burrows, Amy Carlson, Nisha Ganatra, Ana Gasteyer, Lauren Mayberry, Jennifer Morrison, Adepero Oduye, Dascha Polanco, Alysia Reiner, AnnaSophia Robb, Sheetal Sheth and the Vicious Psi Steppers. Haim took the stage to perform songs from their recently released sophomore album, they closed the evening with a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” The 2017 Make Equality Reality Gala Co-Chairs were Gloria Steinem, Tara Lynda Guber, Susan Hassan, Chandra Jessee (InMaat Foundation), Karen Lehner, and Sue Smalley, PhD.“At a time when the rights of girls and women are still threatened all around the world, our support is needed now more than ever. After 25 years, Equality Now continues to lead the way in the fight for gender equality. Cases are being heard, laws are being changed, and issues affecting women and girls are being pushed to the top of policy agendas, due to Equality Now’s fearless efforts. On behalf of Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE, I am honored to join them in the ongoing fight for gender equality and for the future of millions of girls and women,” said Susan Chokachi.“Our work in Bolivia is part of a global movement that is fighting to end sexual violence. Having support from international organisations like Equality Now is absolutely crucial. It is very hard to bring about change as an isolated entity but when people around the world come together we can add more pressure on governments to protect women and girls,” said Brisa De Angulo.“Equality Now is proud to have been part of the global women’s rights movement for 25 years and counting. Systemic change is driven from within communities and we partner and work with activists from all walks of life. We were thrilled to recognize Gucci’s Susan Chokachi and A Breeze of Hope Foundation’s Brisa de Angulo for their contributions to gender equality and to ending violence violence against women and girls. Equality Now is honored to work with such powerful and compassionate women,” said Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now.The event was generously supported by Catalyst of Change Sponsor, Gucci, and Changemakers, Tara Guber, Susie Hassan, Holt Renfrew, Karen Lehner, Neiman Marcus Group, Saks Fifth Avenue, Stardust Foundation and Sue Smalley & Kevin Wall.Susan joined Gucci in 1998, and has spent nearly 20 years representing the company in various leadership roles in North America. Over the course of her career at Gucci, she has helped lead many of the company’s global philanthropic initiatives, including long-term partnerships with UNICEF, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and The Film Foundation. Susan also helped launch the company’s CHIME FOR CHANGE campaign, founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. The campaign uses innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Co-founded by Beyonce and Salma Hayek Pinault, the campaign works with a coalition of partner organizations, including Global Citizen, the Kering Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook and Hearst Magazines. Since 2013, through CHIME FOR CHANGE, Susan has worked closely with Equality Now and Global Executive Director Yasmeen Hassan, who also serves on the CHIME FOR CHANGE Advisory Board.Brisa is a leading campaigner against child and adolescent sexual abuse in Bolivia and was motivated to help others by her own experience of sexual assault when she was a teenager. Brisa grew up with her family in Cochabamba, Bolivia where as a teenager, she was raped repeatedly by an older cousin. When she finally reported the sexual assault, she faced intimidation and blame from the Bolivian authorities, as well as from her community and extended family. In 2004, Brisa started A Breeze of Hope (Fundacion Una Brisa De Esperanza), a charity that supports sexually abused children in Bolivia. Bolivia has one of the highest rates of sexual violence against women and children in South America, but one of the lowest reporting rates. It was the first organization in the country to provide social workers, therapists, and lawyers, all free of charge for children who are sexual abuse victims. In 2014, she partnered with Equality Now to address the alarming rates of child sexual abuse and incest in Bolivia and gaps in the law that allow it to continue – and to finally bring her own abuser to justice.Equality Now is dedicated to using the law to create a more just world for women and girls. Their international network of lawyers, activists, and supporters hold governments responsible for ending legal inequality, sex trafficking, sexual violence and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and “child marriage.”last_img read more


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first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Curtis Stange, President and CEO of ATB Financial, congratulated Rondeau and all the entrepreneurs who participated in the competition.“We are thrilled to have been part of so many success stories,” Stange said. “Local businesses are vital to the health of our economy and ATB prides itself on helping entrepreneurs like these get started.”ATB’s Build Her Business competition was a campaign to encourage more women to use crowdfunding as a way to start and grow their business. People contributed to the campaigns in exchange for a reward which varied depending on the size of the contribution.Participants launched their campaigns February 1, 2019 and were supported and mentored throughout by ATB.Rondeau was one of seven semi-finalists whose campaigns were judged by some of the biggest names in business including Angela Brown, CEO of Moneris, Marcela Mandeville, CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and ATB vice-president Ed Straw.Of the 22 participants in the competition, 19 met their crowdfunding goal. The competition raised close to $230,000, an average of over $12,000 per crowdfunding campaign.“ATB recognizes women entrepreneurs face unique challenges when it comes to accessing capital and connecting with the right networks,” Stange said. “We are committed to supporting women in overcoming those barriers and helping remove them when it comes to innovative banking solutions.”All 19 participants who met their goals will be able to keep the money raised through crowdfunding.As the winner, Rondeau will also receive a personal mentorship session with Manjit Minhas, ATB board member, venture capitalist and dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. She will also receive a $5,000 MasterCard from Moneris and ATB and a three-month coaching program with Anita Kemp, of The Purposeful Entrepreneur, valued at $1,500.“Alberta is a province full of remarkable entrepreneurs and this competition proved it once again,” said Minhas, who has been part of the campaign since its launch. “These women are creative, tenacious and embody the true entrepreneurial spirit. As someone who has seen thousands of sofas pitches, I can honestly say these are the cream of the crop! I look forward to watching and hopefully investing in their journey to change the world.”Other finalists include:Designer Jolanda Slagmolen-Flores — Sencillo Cabinets (Calgary)Artist Stephanie Hoogveld — Women of Wonder (Calgary)Herbalist Aga Wajda-Plytta — Herbologie (Edmonton)Health care professional Kathleen Cesarin — AOS (Edmonton)Workwear designer Jess Black — Jess Black Inc (Edmonton)Baker Ashley Prince — More Fun! Gourmet Sweets (Leduc)About ATB FinancialWith $54.9 billion in assets, ATB Financial is an Alberta-built financial institution. But don’t let that fool you—we’re so much more than a bank. We got started in 1938 to help Albertans through tough economic times, and today we have 176 branches, 143 agencies, a Client Care Centre, four entrepreneur centres, and mobile and online banking. And did you know we’re fast becoming the digital bank and the bank for entrepreneurs? We’re already the place to work for our more than 5,500 team members who love to serve our 760,000-plus customers in 247 Alberta communities. To find out more, visit us at atb.com. Login/Register With: Advertisementcenter_img CALGARY – A Calgary entrepreneur is one step closer to expanding fashion choices through her business Curvy Collective after winning ATB Financial’s Build Her Business crowdfunding competition.Aymie Rondeau raised just over $9,000 in her winning campaign to create an online shopping platform that offers inclusive designer fashion not otherwise available in Canada. The chartered accountant came up with the idea after becoming frustrated with the lack of fashionable, high-quality designs available for plus-sized, professional women.“We believe that plus-sized women deserve safe, non-judgmental spaces to shop in, and the same quality of service and design, and quantity of fashion that is available to straight-sized women,” Rondeau said. “Curvy Collective’s goal is to change the conversation around how the world views and accepts people in larger bodies, and how plus-sized women view themselves: as confident, capable and worthy.” Facebook Calgary entrepreneur Aymie Rondeau is the winner of ATB Financial’s Build Her Business crowdfunding competition. Rondeau’s campaign Curvy Collective, to create an online shopping platform that offers inclusive designer fashion, raised over $9,000. (CNW Group/ATB Financial) Twitterlast_img read more

New trial would lead to Connie Oakes acquittal says Alberta Appeal Court

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first_img(Linda Oakes, whose niece Connie Oakes is fighting a murder conviction, tells reporters outside the Calgary courthouse that there was a miscarriage of justice. APTN/Photo)Read APTN’s coverage of the Connie Oakes case hereJorge Barrera APTN National News CALGARY—Connie Oakes, a Cree woman currently fighting a murder conviction, would likely be acquitted if she were granted a new trial, a Court of Appeal of Alberta justice suggested Tuesday.Justice Myra Bielby made the statement during Oakes’ appeal hearing while questioning Crown Brian Graff as to why he kept insisting that if the Court of Appeal determined there was a miscarriage of justice it should not acquit but grant a new trial. Oakes’ hearing was held in a 14th floor courtroom at the Calgary Court Centre.“Isn’t the inevitable result of a new trial acquittal? So why have it?” said Bielby.The Court of Appeal’s three judge panel—Bielby, Justice J.D. Bruce McDonald and Justice F.L. Schutz—pushed and prodded both Oakes’ defence lawyers and the Crown throughout the hearing. Their focus, which was revealed in a letter sent by the court to both sides early last week, was on whether Oakes’ guilty verdict should be set aside on grounds there was not enough evidence to support it.The three justices reserved judgement on the appeal and a ruling is expected within one to six months.Oakes, who is from the Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, sat in the prisoner’s box like stone throughout the hearing. She wore dark-rimmed eyeglasses and a dark Neechie Gear shirt.“I was nervous as hell,” said Oakes, in a phone call with APTN National News from the Calgary jail following the hearing. “I needed to know how good of a fight (my lawyers) were going to put up…I think they fought well.”The murder case against Oakes was built solely on the confession and testimony of her co-accused, Wendy Scott, a woman with an intellectual disability who has been assessed as having an IQ of 50. Scott told police she constantly lied and admitted the same while testifying under oath.Oakes said Tuesday evening that Scott was also being held at the Calgary jail and, despite being in a different zones, they had seen each other. Oakes said some of the inmates told her Scott was talking about the case.“Wendy is here, she is telling people I caused her all this chaos,” said Oakes.Oakes was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury in November 2013 of the 2011 slaying of a Medicine Hat, Alta., man named Casey Armstrong. She was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.With no DNA evidence, fingerprints or murder weapon, the Medicine Hat police and Crown built their case on Scott who told police she was involved in the murder and saw Oakes kill Armstrong with a knife.Scott pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentence to life with no chance of parole for 10 years.Connie Oakes pictured along with the Edmonton Institution for Women where she is currently held.There was no forensic evidence introduced during trial indicating puncture wound through the neck that killed Armstrong was caused by a knife blade. Police also failed to trace the source of a size 11 bloody boot print discovered on the floor when Armstrong’s body was found in the bathtub of his trailer.Scott accused three other people—two men and a woman—of the murder before implicating herself and Oakes.In October, the Court of Appeal struck Scott’s guilty plea, quashed her conviction of second degree murder and ordered a new trial. The trial date for Scott’s trial is expected to be set on Feb. 12. Scott last appeared before the Court of Queen’s Bench in Medicine Hat on Friday and told the presiding judge she was being transferred to the jail in Lethbridge, Alta. As of Tuesday evening, Scott was still being held in Calgary.Part of Oakes’ appeal is based on a fresh evidence application in the form of an affidavit sworn by Scott.The affidavit is still sealed until the Court of Appeal rules on its admissibility. Justice McDonald said the court would deliver their decision on the fresh evidence at the same time they issue the final verdict.According to the affidavit, Scott states that she doesn’t believe Oakes was at the crime scene, according to sections of the document which were discussed during the hearing Tuesday.Scott also stated in the affidavit that police interrogators pointed out the vehicle to her that they believed was used in the murder. She also claimed to have confessed to her and Oakes’ involvement because she was “very afraid” and “wanted to be safe,” according to sections of the affidavit mentioned during the hearing.Scott’s affidavit also stated that she was interrogated by police from June 2011 to December 2011, six months longer than disclosed to Oakes’ defence during trial.Graff said Scott’s affidavit did not meet the bar required for a true recantation to qualify as fresh evidence. The affidavit did not provide enough details beyond Scott’s belief Oakes wasn’t at the crime scene, said Graff. He also said Scott’s allegations against the police were challenged by Medicine Hat officers through their own affidavits.Graff stated that that despite some problems with Scott’s testimony, the 12 members of the jury chosen for Oakes’ trial determined that it was enough to convict her on second-degree murder.He said the Appeal Court judges should let the jury verdict stand.“My position is we don’t have a miscarriage of justice at all,” said Graff.Tanner Armstrong’s father Casey Armstrong was murdered in 2011. APTN/PhotoOakes’ lawyer Aleksandra Simic said much of Scott’s credibility during the trial came from her guilty plea for second-degree murder in connection with the Armstrong killing. With the guilty plea now struck, part of the case presented to the jury at trial was based on a “legal fiction.”“We were asking (the jury) to perform an impossible task,” said Simic.After the Crown wrapped up submissions by dissecting some of the action of Oakes’ trial defence lawyer, Bielby offered another observation.“Sometimes a miscarriage of justice just happens, they are not the fault of anyone at the time,” said Bielby.Nine members of Oakes’ family attended the hearing and they sat together to the right of the judges.On the other side of the gallery sat Armstrong’s two children, Karli and Tanner Armstrong.Outside the courtroom, Oakes’ aunt Linda Oakes became emotional when asked by several reporters about how she felt following the hearing.“I want to see her set free,” she said. “We all know she didn’t do it.”As for Armstrong’s children, they said the now five year-long ordeal was taking its toll on their emotions.“I am sure you can all imagine that it’s not that great. We lost our father, it sucks, that is all I can really say about that,” said Tanner [email protected]@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

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