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Bishop Susan Johnson: “It makes me really think we can change the world”

24 October 2019

Susan Johnson is the national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. She was elected in 2007 and is the first woman to hold the post.

Why and when did you decide to participate in Thursdays in Black?

Bishop Johnson: I started participating in Thursdays in Black as soon as I heard about it, over three years ago. I did it because of a lifelong commitment I've had to working to end violence against women.

There are a number of prominent campaigns and movements to protest and raise awareness of gender-based violence. What contribution does Thursdays in Black make to all these other efforts?

Bishop Johnson: I think Thursdays in Black is really important because it’s an overall embracing campaign that lifts up all different areas about violence against women and different campaigns within it. It’s a way to keep this important work always front and center in our minds.

How has Thursdays in Black impacted you personally?

Bishop Johnson: Thursdays in Black has impacted me the most personally by giving me hope. Every time I see a group of women, or a group of all genders, wearing black, wearing their buttons, making a commitment to end gender-based violence, it gives me hope. I realize I’m not alone in working to end this violence, and It makes me really think we can change the world.

When people ask you about your button, what is your message to them?

Bishop Johnson: I say Thursdays in Black is an important campaign globally that helps us speak out about all forms of violence against women and people of other genders. It allows us to speak out against human trafficking, domestic and sexual violence, violence against missing and indigenous women - the list goes on and on. It includes systemic violence we experience in our society and in our churches.

To learn more about Thursdays in Black ambassadors, or to become one yourself, please contact media@wcc-coe.org.