Comedy With a Cause

Roses are red, violets are blue, we want to smash patriarchy with you

Feb. 5, 2017

Spending money on a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates this weekend is the conventional route. Putting that money toward a ticket to an evening of feminist-inspired stand-up comedy is an option being offered for the first time in Centretown this Valentine’s.

Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club on Elgin Street is hosting a comedy fundraiser for the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women on Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.

The theme of the fundraiser is Galentines, the unofficial holiday where ladies celebrate the love they share with their female friends.

The holiday originated from the TV sitcom Parks and Recreation, starring Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope. Knope described the holiday as a day where lady friends leave their husbands and boyfriends at home.

“We just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies,” Poehler’s character said in the popular show.

The idea for the Galentines themed fundraiser came from Kate Forman, a Carleton undergraduate student doing a placement at the coalition.

Erin Leigh, the executive director at the coalition, said the team thought Valentine’s weekend would be a perfect opportunity to organize a fundraiser.

“It’s a good chance to get into peoples minds when there’s such a focus on romantic relationships,” Leigh said.

“I think it’s really good to have fundraisers like these where people can just come out and have a really good time,” Forman added.

“People can have some laughs, make new friends and enjoy themselves, while also raising funds for a really important organization.”

Liv Quintal, a student from the Richard Pfaff Alternative Program, will be attending the fundraiser in support of Forman.

“They’re an amazing person. They’re so eloquent and passionate about women’s rights,” Quintal said of Forman.

“As a feminist myself, spending Valentine’s season with people who are also passionate and inclusive is an amazing thing.”

Leigh said the coalition is pleased Forman was able to ensure the comedy will be centred on a feminist framework.

“I think especially when we’re having a fundraiser that’s specific to violence against women, it’s really important to highlight the voices of women and femme identified folks,” Forman said.

The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, at 250 City Centre Ave., works with member organizations to provide services for women and children who have experienced abuse, as well as survivors of sexual violence.

Forman said it’s rewarding to be involved with a coalition committed to emphasizing the diversity and dignity of women and children.

“The people working there are fantastic. It’s a really supportive environment so I’m happy to do what I can for them,” they said.

Member organizations include shelters, crisis centres, family services and various community health and resource centres.

Leigh said bringing different service providers together allows them to identify how women are experiencing and navigating different systems.

“By working together we can really see the finger on the pulse of what survivors are experiencing,” Leigh said.

“They really listened to me,” recalled Diane George, who received support from the coalition for multiple years.

“They got me involved in the public engagement committee and provided me with emotional support. They were amazing,” said George, now chair of the justice committee at the coalition.

Proceeds from the Galentines fundraiser will help the coalition improve and expand their programs and services for women and children in need.

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