Chantal Thanh Laplante, Youth Recipient, 2014, Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case
Women are people.
This is what feminism is about.
Even though I've always had feminist values,
I only discovered the movement 10 years ago in college.
I remembered feeling a huge relief,
because I had finally found other people with
similar radical notions that women deserved to
be treated as people.
Feminists are criticized for being too angry.
Well how can you not be angry knowing that one in four
women are or have been victims of family violence?
When every 17 minutes in Canada a woman is raped?
When women do not even feel safe walking on the street?
Every single day, women are being denied their rights.
I no longer accept this as being part of life.
I have found my voice, and I will use it for those
who haven't found theirs yet.
My feminism started with quietly reading books and articles,
then later attending conferences and events,
but sat quietly in the back.
Nowadays, I have a hard time sharing the
megaphone at rallies.
I even have a protest kit in my car at all times.
For many years, I felt I had no voice.
A history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse
and bullying had led me to believe that I had no value.
To the people who put me down and didn't believe in me:
Thank you for helping me discover my
strength and my courage.
When I learned I had won this award, I wondered, Why me?
But the inner hard work I've been doing to heal from the
impacts of abuse has helped me to accept this award.
Even if I am one tiny person in this country,
I have learned that I can make a positive difference
and that I can bring change.
Imagine a world where everyone comes together to
speak out against injustices.
Imagine a world where we treat each other with
love and respect.
I believe that a world like this can happen.
I would like to end by sharing with you one of my favourite
quotes that motivates me to continue the work that I am
doing: "I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I refuse to not do something that I can do."