International Women's Day

International Women's Day Breakfast

Taniya Sheikh

This morning at the London Convention Center, The London Abused Women’s Center hosted their 18th Annual Women’s Day Breakfast and Auction.

This event usually comprises of a keynote speaker to share their experience and most importantly empower and focus on issues that women go through. After which an auction is held for products that are donated by several businesses around London.

Megan Walker, the executive director of The London Abused Women’s Center opened that Breakfast with a warm welcome and said that the it’s important to celebrate women’s day to reflect on how far we have come as women and this year is a “pivotal point” with the #metoo movement. She said that they chose Najwa Zebian as their keynote speaker because of the backlash she has faced and wants to give Zebian this platform where she can openly express herself and feels like she’s supported by other women in society.

This year’s Keynote Speaker was Najwa Zebian who has been in the spotlight in London for participation in the #metoo movement and for her mention in the New York Times and CBS with many others. Zebian has spoken about her sexual harassment experience with the principal of the high school she taught in through twitter.

Last night, Zebian received her notice for a law suit against her for defamation and slander and she was expected to address that during her speech at the breakfast which made the event more interesting.
In her speech, Zebian first addressed the people who were there “to watch” her and if needed they could go back and re-watch her speech as it was being recorded live.

Her speech was powerful; she was angry and emotional at times, but she managed to tell her entire story in a room with more than 400 people.

The poet and author mentioned how her harassment complaint against the principal was denied and how the shame of it kept her quite for so long until she finally had to speak up about it. Towards the end of her speech she encouraged women to tell their truth and not be silenced by bullies who have the power to.

When the author of the book Mind Platter; which was released earlier this year was asked to speak to the media, she faced the cameras with her lawyer, Philip Miller who tackled most of the questions if not all while Zebian spoke when she was comfortable.

Also present at the event was Arielle Kayabaga, black activist in London who said that Zebian’s speech was “powerful” and is thankful to the women who fought for their rights over the years.