On Friday I had the privilege of attending the LEAF Persons Day Breakfast in Toronto. It is the 25th anniversary of LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) and 81 years since women were made persons under the law following the Persons Case.
800 people were in attendance for the breakfast in Toronto, and 5,000 people across Canada for similar breakfast events. Quite incredible to see. In Toronto, Barbara Budd, radio personality, hosted the morning. It started with an interview of Beth Symes, LEAF co-founder, conducted by Budd, talking about the genesis of LEAF.
Then there was a spoken word performance by dub poetry artist J. Nichole Noël; she performed three of her pieces including “Woman to Woman” and “Let Not Our Voices Go Unheard”.
For me the most impressive part was the keynote by Deena Ladd, coordinator of The Workers’ Action Centre who explained to us how much of our work force is made up of migrant temporary workers, notably women, who have very few rights, and how “bad bosses” take advantage of them. I found it quite eye-opening.
Finally, Rhonda Roffey, Executive Director of Women’s Habitat, closed us out with a list of top ten reasons to support LEAF. It was a nice mix of how far we’ve come along with a look at how far we need to go.
I also learned how important LEAF is in supporting equality of women and girls in Canada through litigation, law reform and public education. Since 1985 LEAF has intervened in over 150 cases. Membership is only $25 ($10 for students and seniors). They also accept donations and tributes.