People throughout the Shuswap, and the world, are urged to Break the Bias with the arrival of International Women’s Day 2022.
#BreakTheBias is this year’s theme for March 8 – and beyond, a time to help create a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination – a time to forge women’s equality.
Breena Cavallarin, a family violence prevention worker with the SAFE Society, explained the society has been focusing on a social media campaign during the pandemic. It includes celebrating women who have recently opened a business, as well as highlighting new programs offered by the society.
One of those businesses is The Nom Shuswap in Salmon Arm, a holistic meal prep business run by Raelyn Lachapelle and Cassie Walters.
In their online pledge to #breakthebias, they say “we want to see a world free of stereotypes, a world that is diverse and inclusive to all, a world where women have the same rights and opportunities as anyone else. As moms and wives, we pledge to raise the next generation to lead with kindness and equality. As business owners, we pledge to instill inclusivity and community into our employees, customers and surroundings.”
In solidarity with #BreakTheBias, the women stood with arms crossed.
More businesses and information can be found on the SAFE Society Facebook page or Instagram feed.
Cavallarin grew up in Salmon Arm. Working in family violence prevention, she sees there is much more violence in town than most people think.
“We can think, oh it’s such a beautiful town, but a lot happens behind the scenes we might not be aware of.”
While it’s sad, she said, it’s amazing to be working for the SAFE Society that does so much advocacy and offers so many resources to people.
“Being able to help in those ways, especially with a few new services… It’s just really powerful to be a part of.”
She pointed to two new programs.
Sexual Assault Support Services are offered to anyone and can provide specialized supports to adult, youth and childhood victims/survivors who have experienced sexual assault and or sexual abuse. A 24-hour emergency call-out is available.
“This is a huge win for us,” Cavallarin said.
She also pointed to the Human Connection Hub, a free thrift store downtown that supplies clothes and other resources. It’s a place where the community can come and get what they need, and support workers are always there. The Hub is located at 258 Shuswap St. and is open Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
For ways to break the bias, Cavallarian’s suggestions included self-reflection to examine unconscious biases, and education about gender bias through various resources such as the International Women’s Day website.
Cavallarian expressed gratitude for all those participating in #BreakTheBias and for having an opportunity to bring awareness to gender-based violence in the community.
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