CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Legion was packed with 150 girls on Friday, Oct. 11 for the annual International Day of the Girl celebration.
The event featured multiple local organizations showcasing some of the work that local women do in the non-profit sector.
Organizations at the event included the Raisin Region Conservation Authority, YourTV, the Cornwall Police Service, SD&G Paramedics, South Glengarry Fire Department, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Boys and Girls Club, and more.
Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement, the first female mayor in the history of Cornwall and the first female mayor of colour in the history of the province of Ontario, was at the event and gave the opening address.
She explained how growing up at school there were some students who called her and her sister names, and that when she won scholarships, she was told it was because she was a girl. Clement said that the support of her family and those around her helped her to persevere.
Clement also told the story of one day in last year’s election campaign, that she was going door-to-door with a young girl of colour named Jersey.
“She touched my hair and said, ‘one day, I’m going to run for mayor too,’ and I thought to myself, ‘this is the right time to do this,'” she told the crowd of young women.
“I’m working hard so that all of you in this room can think they can run for office someday,” Clement concluded.
Lauren Dewar, of the Canadian Mental Health Association and a member of the event’s organizing committee said that one goal of the day was to highlight challenges girls face around the world, from employment discrimination to challenges in developing nations.
“We really want to promote that girls can do whatever they want,” she said.