Hundreds of women were on hand for the 26th annual West Coast LEAF breakfast yesterday morning in downtown Vancouver. The event honours another year of achievements and pitches for donations for West Coast LEAF’s upcoming projects in the areas of legal education, law reform, and litigation.
The keynote speaker was author and activist Carmen Aguirre, whose first book, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, won last year’s CBC’s 2012 Canada Reads award. Carmen was interviewed by CBC host Gloria Macarenko on growing up during the coup in Chile, Pinochet’s dictatorship, school days in Vancouver and living as a revolutionary with her mother and later with her partner in Chile, Bolivia and Peru.
Carmen described her childhood living a double life in a resistance family as “years of living in a state of terror” of being taken by the military and said the book came in part from her desire “to demystify revolutionaries.”
Carmen said that while she no longer considers herself an activist, she fully supports the indigenous Mapuche and student struggles in Chile against the current ultra right government for “the change that may not happen in our lifetime but in our children’s or grandchildren’s.” Labeled a terrorist by right-wingers in Canada, she said to much applause, “look who’s calling who a terrorist.”