Monday at Midday: Parliament House
Welcome! Thanks for checking out Monday at Midday (Parliament House).
If you've ever walked around the outside of Parliament House you may have noticed a lovely garden. It contains statues that have been gifted to the Australian Parliament. It also contains two memorial plaques; one for the victims of the Bali bombing and one for those killed in Malaysian flight 17.
There are no memorials dedicated to the incalculable damage done to women and girls due to gendered violence. There are no memorials for the one woman that's murdered every week in a domestic setting.
So we're creating a walking memorial.
Each Monday at midday, a small group of women will walk the circuit at Parliament House to honour all women and girls who've survived gendered violence. We'll rage and grieve and heal and intentionally change the conversation in this country.
By coming together in this way, we hope to keep the elimination of violence against women top of mind for all Australians. We'll share stories and messages using the hashtag #mondayatmidday and communicate with parliamentarians about the action that's required by those who presume to lead us.
We know we are stronger together. We know that it's women's voices, stories, and wisdom that will change the trajectory of this nation. Our walking memorial is one way of looking clearly at the past and the present, in order to create hope for the women and girls of the future.
Tell me more!
Monday at Midday (Parliament House) is premised on the idea that small, consistent steps create sustainable, social change.
Each week a small group of women will meet to form the walking memorial.
We'll walk around Parliament House in a counter-clockwise manner to signify the unravelling of patriarchal norms. Norms that created rape culture and toxic masculinity. Norms that cause harm to women and girls not just in the streets, not just in our homes, but in Parliament House itself.
As we wind back the clock on patriarchy, we'll pave the way for a new future. One that's based on the dignity and respect of all citizens. One that treats all as equal and works tirelessly to protect the vulnerable from harm.
A new way of working together
The memorial walk represents a new way of working together to create social change.
Rather than gathering in large groups once or twice a year in protest (which we absolutely believe to be essential and necessary), here we're exploring what happens when women across the country gather in small groups on a more regular basis. Not once or twice a year but every single week.
We're also exploring what collective responsibility looks like. Rather than expecting a small group of people to work tirelessly for change, we're passing the baton week by week to different groups of women to take the lead and become the face of the movement.
We know that women are busy, working in the home and in the workplace. Carrying the mental load, disproportionately burdened by domestic responsibilities, and caring for the elderly and the young. We know that many women would do more if they could.
So we ask one simple thing of you; will you show up for just one Monday in the year to support the elimination of violence against women and girls?
How to get involved?
It's very simple. Each week women and allies gather on Monday at midday.
Because the memorial walk is intended to operate like a relay of sorts - where one group of women passes the baton to another group and so on throughout the year - we ask that you schedule the week, or weeks, you intend to participate by completing your details below.
NB: The information you provide when you claim your place will only be used to send an automated reminder around the date you're attending the walk.
Scheduling your intended participation gives us greater clarity about the numbers each week (so we can ensure there's always a group of women walking each Monday).
It also means that when women are making the effort to travel from outside of Canberra to participate, the numbers will be capped so no one will need to apply for a permit or spark any security concerns for the Federal Police.
What you need to know about the walk
You're invited to wear black and it takes about 30 minutes to walk the path that circumnavigates Parliament House. The path is flat and there's a paved footpath that ensures wheelchair accessibility.
Everything else you need to know, including where to meet and how to access the What'sApp group to make sure you're up to date on the latest news, will be provided to you once you schedule the date (or dates) that you wish to participate.
So find a date that suits you and let us know here that you're coming along.
Frequently asked questions
All are welcome and encouraged to attend. It's also essential that this be a safe space for women and girls. Therefore, the desires of the women and girls participating will be prioritised above all else.
No more than an hour in total.
Just yourself and the usual things you might need for an outdoor walk in the Canberra weather; a hat, sunscreen, some water, possibly a snow jacket or a fan depending on the season!
We encourage you to wear black and comfortable shoes.
You can, but in order to ensure that participation is spread evenly throughout the year, we ask that you schedule the date you wish to attend here. (NB: you'll be able to schedule your participation up to 3 months in advance.)
Small, consistent action is our goal here. Creating social change is a marathon, not a sprint. We don't want anyone to burn out.
That'd be me! Samantha Nolan-Smith. I'm the CEO and founder of the School of Visibility, an online school for women who want to speak up, use their voices, and create a positive impact in the world. You can find out more about The School of Visibility right here.