‘Pride, Not Prejudice’ Provides Safe Space for Feminist Vendors and Progressive Rights Groups
Owner of a small local business Kaitlynne-Rae Landry hosted the online initiative Pride, not prejudice for the second year recently, offering feminists and other progressive creators and advocacy groups a space to share their work.
Landry started his business, Ifs, Ands or Buttons, five years ago. “It all started when I was working for a charity that had a button maker that we used for stuff in the office,” she recalls.
After playing around with a few templates, Landry realized that she could start making unique buttons for other nonprofits as well.
Landry quickly got involved in making buttons and stickers for a variety of local causes, from the Ottawa Slut Walk to Adopt Me Cat Rescue.
“The idea was to create buttons and stickers that are not just for the show but also to express passion, express opinions, spark conversations and allow people to express themselves while wearing them,” said Landry.
The first Pride, No Biases Market took place in 2020, after Landry learned that the region’s annual feminist fair would be canceled due to the pandemic.
After attending the Feminist Fair for three years, Landry said she was extremely upset when she found out that was not going to happen.
“It was one of the craft shows I could go to and I didn’t have to explain myself, and people didn’t give me weird looks because my buttons were extremely feminist,” Landry said. .
She said to herself, “There has to be something to fill the void.
She had applied and participated in a few different craft shows in Ottawa. “Even though I had already pre-censored my buttons and hadn’t given them anything particularly outrageous, a lot of my buttons weren’t allowed on the show.”
“I asked them why my button that said ‘End Rape Culture’ wasn’t allowed, and their excuse was that it was too political for their audience,” Landry said.
“I mean I have political buttons, but ‘End Rape Culture’ is like political training wheels.”
Landry said that after experiencing this backlash, as well as the cancellation of the Feminist Fair, “it really cemented in my mind that there was a real need for a place where policy makers or marginalized can show and shamelessly sell their products and speak their truth “.
After a successful first year, “everyone was loud enough… that they wanted this event to keep happening. So we did another one in the spring and a third.
The most recent event was online November 4-7 and featured dozens of vendors and several Ottawa-based charities championing progressive causes – a craft market and a community resource fair.
Compared to the 2020 edition, “we’ve seen tremendous growth because more and more people are learning about what we’re doing,” Landry said. “We now have a much larger audience on social media, so now we have some momentum. “
She added, “We had 75 vendors participating last weekend. I think even for future events that will be our number cap because I think it’s a good limit for how many people we can reasonably handle.
One participant was Kind Space, the Ottawa nonprofit, formerly known as Pink Triangle Services, which provides advocacy services, resources and programs to “people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions”.
Kind Space hosted a workshop open on November 6th. It was called “Oppression 101” and was moderated by Kind Space executive director Carling Miller.
The workshop focused on anti-oppression experiences and opened the floor to anyone who wanted to share their story.
“We’re not here to advise each other, just to listen and share,” Miller says. “Our ability to be connected to people is so important because colonialism and capitalism make society as separate and isolated as possible.”
Miller said the workshop opportunities are so important because “they create a place where people have the opportunity to be connected, to be curious and to be accountable to others.”
Vendors at the event sold items ranging from artwork and bath bombs to unique African décor.
Landry said Pride, not prejudice will continue with the next event scheduled for April 2022.