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As the final days before the Equal Are We conference arrives we thought you might want to hear from the speakers themselves about why they are involved in this initiative. Each speaker has a story and a message to share with our audience and the community.

YWCA Equal Are We KhanWhen it comes down to it, we all want one thing and that is respect from others. "I wanted to be involved in this event because the most important thing I learnt through my hockey career and moving on from the game was the ins and outs of respect. Respecting others and being respected. I truly believe before any other skill or talent, respect is the key in being successful as a society and as an individual," Ben Fanelli, Co-Director, Head Strong and former captain of the Kitchener Rangers.

Film maker Attiya Khan believes that forums like this one "can build momentum towards taking action to prevent violence against women."

The YWCA Cambridge believes that in order to create meaningful and sustainable change, we must bring everyone to the table. We need to create spaces where we can ask difficult questions. Hold each other accountable for the ways we can personally do more to promote new maps for manhood that prioritize healthy masculinity, and normalize an attitude of intolerance about objectification of women and gendered violence.

"I am involved with Equal Are We because I have experienced the power of men working to end gendered violence through our MAASV program and I know that a complex issue such as this takes a collaborative effort," Joan Tuchlinsky Public Education Manager at Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo.

Former Toronto Argo player Chuck Winters had this to say "the reason I'm involved in this conference is because I believe when you have a negative experience in your life, the best way to eradicate that negative experience is by helping someone who may be dealing with the same issue by providing kind words, love or a blueprint to your salvation."

There you have it, some of the reasons that our speakers are participating in this conference. Now we would love to hear why you are attending? What are you hoping to gain from this conversation, this experience? Tweets us, send us a message on Facebook or drop us an e-mail. We want to hear from you.

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As a member agency of YWCA Canada, YWCA Cambridge is part of a national movement known as the country’s oldest and largest women's multi-service organization, the largest national provider of shelter, literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs, and is the second largest provider of childcare services in Canada.

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