The idea of a National Forum was born out of the desire to connect the themes identified in the portraits with tangible action. On March 11, 2017, we held our first National Forum in Sid Lee’s beautiful space, 8 Queen. Nearly 200 feminist law students, legal professionals and lawyers came together during International Women’s Week to discuss how to make our law schools, legal profession and justice system more inclusive, diverse and accessible. To think this was just 11 months after the first 33 LNFB portraits were launched via the Feminist Collective of McGill Law.
The National Forum began with an introductory note by Rachel Kohut, and two monologues on why law needs feminism by Samanthea Samuels and Marie-Laurence Goyette. This set the stage for a keynote by Amanda Ghahremani—one of the people behind the Feminist Collective of McGill Law’s first photo campaign in 2014 (“I am a feminist and …”) and current Legal Director and Acting Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for International Justice. A presentation on feminist mentorship advocacy by Gabriella Nudo of the Women’s Legal Mentorship Program followed.
Karine Bédard and Romita Sur, who were responsible for locking in the workshops for the day, proceeded with a land acknowledgement. They also highlighted the importance of intersectionality and diversity in planning the workshops for the National Forum, especially concerning marginalized voices of women of colour, transwomen, and Indigenous women.
The morning closed with Jo Murray, who managed the logistics of the National Forum. She gave the low-down on things logistical. She explained how people would rotate through their workshops.
Above photography by Bobby León.