It is SO intimidating to come out to a community gathering like Broad Conversations — by yourself, or even with friends. What should you expect? Why should you come? What if you get shy? How can you help out?
We hear you, and we want you to feel comfortable joining in. So here’s a list of questions you might have, and our best attempt at answering them. Do you have questions remaining after reading this page? Let us know!
What is a feminist gathering?
At Broad Conversations, our feminism is rooted in the values of justice, equity and anti-oppression. This means that we approach all conversations and organizing with a commitment to call-in culture and teaching, from a place of love and solidarity. At the same time, to be a feminist is to be unsatisfied with the way the world currently works, so we gather to build shared learning and take action, too. We vow to use any and all privilege in the collective to protect, defend, celebrate and seek justice for the experiences of all women and non-binary folks.
Who is welcome?
We welcome all trans and cis women, non-binary and gender-fluid folks. We welcome introverts, English learners, assault survivors, disabled feminists, neurodiverse folks, and quirky people. If you are new to feminism and activism, we enthusiastically welcome you! The hardest part is showing up — it gets easier from there. We also have greeters at every gathering who can answer any questions you may have when you show up, or throughout the meeting.
We also welcome people with kids! Child minding is available on site from a certified, unionized child care provider. Please be sure that you register on Eventbrite at least a week ahead of the event so that we know how many children to expect. You can email us with any questions at all.
Why should I attend?
This is a topsy-turvy world. Every day there are headlines that paint a picture of a world spiralling out of control. Misogyny and racism and transphobia are rampant. (In fact, Hamilton was just named the hate crime capital of Canada.) It can begin to feel like change is impossible and nothing we do matters, but that nihilism is truly the end.
Broad Conversations’ strategy for the next year or so is zoom in from the suffocating big picture, build community through learning, and take specific action to demonstrate that change is indeed possible if we work together. The plan is to pick a theme (reproductive justice) and use our monthly gatherings to join together in shared learning about that topic and about the activist tactics we can undertake to make change.
Everyone who participates is also welcome to join in as a formal volunteer, which is a great way to build friendships and your experience. We have several volunteer roles open for each gathering, from being a greeter to taking notes or photos to being the emcee. You can request a volunteer account here. Volunteers are also added to our Slack group where we stay in touch between monthly gatherings.
Even if you just want to attend here or there, the energy at Broad Convos gatherings is invigorating. You realize how rare it is to be in a room full of feminists who are explicit about their politics and who want to do the work to make our community feel safer and more inclusive. It’s pretty special. We hope you’ll come out!
What can I expect at Broad Convos gatherings?
Aside from meeting a lot of friendly, passionate people, you can expect a pretty consistent agenda at each of our monthly gatherings.
We begin with a land acknowledgement and a reading of our values statement and basis of unity.
A speaker shares their insights about a specific facet of activism or of our chosen theme for the year (reproductive justice). We intentionally start with a speaker so the introverts in the group have a few minutes to relax before having to interact. The speaker may end with a Q&A or a participatory activity (small groups, etc).
There is a break for snacks and socializing (but there are plenty of spaces at the venue where you can wander solo if you prefer).
The remainder of the meeting time is used for working groups. We currently have three working groups: public education, direct action, and monthly meeting administration. Folks who attend can attend a different group each time or focus on a specific project and keep returning to support ongoing work. We just ask that if you commit to doing a task, you complete it before you move onto another working group.
What is the venue like?
Our home base at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre is accessible by ramp and has washrooms accessible by elevator. It is an operational museum, so there are two floors of exhibits that you can view while you’re at our gatherings — an handy escape if you’re feeling socially overwhelmed or need a quiet moment. WAHC is located at 51 Stuart Street near the West Harbour GO Station and it is two blocks from James Street North at Liuna Station, on several major bus routes. There is free parking out front.
Does it cost anything?
Broad Convos gatherings are Pay-What-You-Can. You can pay online ahead of time on Eventbrite, or we have a cash jar at each event. PWYC contributions cover venue rental, speaker fee, graphic design, snacks, and child minding.
Who are the organizers?
Broad Conversations is a registered Canadian non-profit with a volunteer board of directors and volunteer executive director. Broad Convos was founded by a white woman and many of our volunteers are white. Our goal is to use any and all privilege in the collective to protect, defend, celebrate and seek justice for the experiences of all women and nonbinary folks. We strive to foster a welcoming space and we aim to avoid tokenizing BIPOC participants. We recognize that Broad Convos will not feel naturally comfortable for everyone but we hope and expect to be called on it if we are operating in any way that makes potential participants feel excluded or unsafe. Please email us or speak to organizers at a gathering.
Can I help?
Absolutely! You can request access to our volunteer hub (which also adds you to our Slack group) by filling out this quick form.