Brisbane team leader Miree LeRoy tells her March4Justice story.
It started as a question on Twitter from Janine on February 25th – “Ok here’s my thought-is it possible to form a ring of people around the perimeter of Parl Hse? Then all of us extremely disgruntled women could travel to Canberra on March 8 and form a ring linking arms and with our backs turned toward the parliament and stand in silent protest.
“I need someone to tell me if this is possible. I then also need someone to estimate the distance and how many women we would need? I’m absolutely serious if this is possible we need to protest at a time and place that tells not only this Govt but the world that we’ve had enough”
Within a day women on Twitter and Facebook had come forward and put up their hands to be involved in both the Canberra and other events around the country. I put my hand up on Twitter that first night and then my friend Kat also put up her hand under the FB post so once we worked out we’d both volunteered it was a no brainer to get to work.
The movement once it started was like a roar. Having listened to Brittany who was inspired by Grace and then putting all of our collective experiences into the mix, it was clear that women really wanted to yell “enough” from the rooftops. And then Rae, who lives on the Gold Coast, came up with the wonderful screaming women graphic which resonated across the country. Soon a decision had been made and we would March on Canberra and other cities on March 15.
That gave us about 14 days to organise what would be some of the biggest women’s rallies that Australia had seen in decades.
For the next two weeks we had a number of online meetings – planning, sharing runsheets, checklists, doing social media but mostly liaising with all the wonderful people and organisations who eagerly put their hands up to help. Here in Brisbane we set about organising permits, march routes, and COVID plans; speakers, artists, photographers, banners and police liaison; sound equipment (for two venues), all the things you need for a rally!
It worked because so many people and organisations put up their hands to help and then really dived in. We delegated and no one let us down.
It was fast and furious but weirdly we were pretty calm throughout the whole period because we were really just winging it. We didn’t know if 100 or 1000 people would turn up – after all, this was a Monday and people had to work. We nervously watched the weather forecast and from a week out, it oscillated between 70 percent and 100 percent chance of rain.
We checked and double checked everything and then on Monday March 15 at midday we turned up. Along with the estimated 4,000 – 7,000 other furious women (and men) who also turned up. It was wild!
The event itself went off incident free and we marched to Speakers Corner at Queensland Parliament to be greeted by the entire Parliament who formed a Guard of Honour as we marched in! Not only did they greet us, but they stayed and listened to the speeches right until the end.
We’ve had the rallies now, and some politicians have said a lot of words but the scandals keep on coming. The difference now is that women are coming forward. The more they come forward the stronger we collectively get and we are now demanding action. This is not over. It’s just begun. Helen Reddy was right, “I am Woman, Hear me Roar”.
I would like to give a huge callout to all of those who helped us in Brisbane along with the support we collectively provided each other as co-organisers. Together we are stronger and it’s time to drive this power toward outcomes.
P.S. The rain sprinkled for about 15 minutes at the start then stopped. It then started raining heavily about 15 minutes after the rally finished. Luck was on our side and we take this as an omen.
Miree Le Roy co-organised the Brisbane March4Justice together with Kat Fry. Miree and Kat are team leaders for Brisbane.