YWCA Muskoka is hosting its third annual She Talks Muskoka event on International Women’s Day. This virtual fundraising event on Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. centres around a theme of “The Path Forward.” Learn more about the event’s three speakers below.
ETERNITY MARTIS: An award-winning Toronto-based journalist. She was a 2017 National Magazine Awards finalist for Best New Writer and the 2018 winner of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards for Best Investigative Article. Her writing has appeared in Vice, Huffington Post, The Walrus, CBC, Hazlitt, The Fader, Salon, and on academic syllabuses around the world.
Her work on race and language has influenced media style guide changes across the country. She is the course developer and instructor of Reporting On Race: The Black Community in the Media at X University, the first of its kind in Canada, and the 2021 Asper Visiting Professor at UBC. She earned an honours BA and a Certificate in Writing from Western University and an MJ from X University. In 2020, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by Women’s Executive Network.
Her bestselling debut memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun, was a “Best Book of the Year” pick by Globe and Mail, Apple, Audible and Chapters/Indigo. CBC called the book one of “20 moving Canadian memoirs to read right now” and PopSugar named it one of “5 Books About Race on College Campuses Every Student Should Read.” This year, They Said This Would Be Fun won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Non-Fiction.
ZOEY ROY: Artist. Activist. Educator. Zoey Roy is a force. Her performances weave storytelling, rap, theatre and rhythm and blues together to confront colonialism, explore how it impacts Indigenous people, and find pathways of healing: “What I love most about spoken word is that I can synthesize deep and complex narratives in a way that they become socially acceptable and palatable for a wider audience. I feel a sense of empathy and understanding can be gained by the collective in these moments.”
Zoey is dedicated to working with young people and brings her messages of anti-colonialism and healing into classrooms around the country. She has earned a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Public Policy, and is pursuing a PhD in Education. Through her doctoral studies, she is working toward building schools that are not dependent on the colonial system. She calls it “the HYPE Institute: Helping Young People Engage”.
She has written two books: the memoir, Homecoming (2016), and The Voyageurs: Forefathers of the Métis Nation (2019). Memorable performances include the Regina and Calgary Folk Festivals, Canada 150 on Parliament Hill, BIGSOUND in Australia, and the Dubai Expo 2020. Zoey has been awarded many honours, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Youth Leadership Award (2013), Indspire Award (2016), and the Saskatchewan Arts Award for Arts and Learning (2019).
Zoey is Nehithaw-Dené Métis, a member of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation with roots also from the Black Lake Denesuline Nation, and Green Lake, Saskatchewan. She is now based in Kingston, Ontario, but calls Saskatoon home.
“I want people to know that I am actively working on healing, and that I have tools I’ve picked up along the way that I am open to sharing with them, if they’re willing to listen.”
DR. ANNE-MARIE ZAJDLIK: Founder of Masai Center and Bracelet of Hope. Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik is a family physician and regional HIV specialist. She is the founder of ARCH Clinic Guelph and Waterloo, a provincially funded HIV clinic. ARCH Clinic provides care to over 700 HIV positive patients in Guelph-Wellington, Grey Bruce and Waterloo Region.
Dr. Zajdlik is founder of Bracelet of Hope, a charitable community based organization that raises awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub Saharan Africa and funds for HIV/AIDS relief in Lesotho, Africa. She is a previous board member of the Ontario Hospital Association’s OHAfrica project and member of the OHAfrica Canadian Medical Team that helped open the first HIV/AIDS clinic in Lesotho, Africa.
The Bracelet of Hope Campaign raised over $1 million for the Tsepong Clinic in Lesotho, providing the funding necessary for the clinic’s 2009 operating costs, keeping 21,000 HIV positive people enrolled into care and 11,000 patients on HIV treatment. Bracelet of Hope has now raised over $5 million for HIV/AIDS treatment and relief in Lesotho. The organization is now focused on mobile mobile health units which serve 16,000 people in remote areas of Lesotho providing HIV care, primary care and prevention and COVID-19 education, testing and vaccination.
Anne-Marie is a recipient of the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement award, Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Guelph, Guelph Mercury’s Female Newsmaker of the Year in 2005. She was inducted into the McMaster University Alumnae Gallery in 2011 and received the Order of Ontario in 2010. She is a recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.