Antidote Executive Director Report

antidote network, illustrations by Eva Campbell.

The past 10 months have been a delightful whirlwind of an experience. It was certainly a bit nerve wrecking to have taken on this position from a distance, but once I stepped into the warm embrace of antidote, I knew I was home. It is an honour to work in the presence and loving support of such amazing women, women  who inspire me on a daily basis with the multitude of things they accomplish, with the ways they change the world through informing policy, education, and systems that to most seem too powerful. But what is most inspiring is the way that these gurlz, sistahs and aunties change the world silently, through the love we have for one another, through support, mentorship, leadership, education and forgiveness that is free flowing amongst this network.  These are the many reasons antidote is amazing!

It has been an exciting year for us. We have a new look, a new website and logo that uses new technologies to help optimize our work. Over the next year we hope that these new tools will help build our multi media communication strategies, including blogging, internet resourcing and online sharing to further develop our global networks.

We have introduced our new monthly intergenerational events.  These monthly social gatherings allow us the opportunity to skill build, create and deliver workshops, have fun, and spend much needed networking time with each other.   Many of our members have shared their skills, from the fierce hip shaking of salsa to the powerful tantalizing rhymes of spoken word, to the self-care practices of acupuncture.

We have hosted many successful events and speaking engagements around the world. This includes the Unlabel Fashion Workshop where local fashion designer Charlene George helped us cut up fashion and stereotypes. Most recently, at our Mural Project at 1177 Esquimalt Road, in partnership with Project Respect, we left our mark and painted the town red.

This year is the start of a long road towards restructuring, growing and changing. It’s a particularly exciting time for me as I watch this amazing network develop the capacity to change the face of Victoria.  All of these amazing things could not happen without the unwavering support of our amazing executive team- Sandrina, Rosalyn and Jin-Sun, who without fail are the heartbeat of antidote. And also to the amazing facilitators- Melanie and Letitia, whose hard work, dedication and commitment does not go unnoticed. To all of these women and the rest of the amazing gurlz and women who make antidote the best “job” on earth – thank you!

Most people say their organizations are unique, and I feel the same way about antidote. However it wasn’t until my trip to Cape Town, South Africa, representing antidote at the AWID forum, that I realized this was really true. I sat in many rooms with women from all over the world, who live with varying levels of challenges and struggle. I sat there explaining antidote, telling them about this little organization on the other side of the world. I told them about what we do, and how we do it; how we work to create a sustainable intergenerational movement, driven by women of all ages; how we work in solidarity with Indigenous and racialized girls and women to create a network of support, love, advocacy and resistance. And it was here that these women told me that this organization is truly unique. It was here that they told me we inspired them and that our work affects them around the globe. It was here that I realized in the presence of some of the most progressive women’s movements in the world that we are pioneering intergenerational movements globally. And that although we work on a small scale we do it powerfully, thoughtfully and with the purposeful intent that changes the world!

Manjeet Birk
Executive Director

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