Second annual Women United DEBx talk focuses on clothing, community

UWPH event sees funds raised towards local women’s issues

LISTOWEL – United Way Perth-Huron’s (UWPH) DEBx talk returns for a second year on Nov. 5, with The Voice of Dress, a panel discussion focused on the role of fashion, what dress means to communities and in Canadian society, moderated by last year’s speaker Dr. Laura Morlock. Singer, songwriter, actor and multi-instrumentalist Evangelia Kambites will also perform.

“We’re excited to bring the Women United DEBx talk back again this year,” said UWPH Campaign Co-chair Leslie Edney. “I invite anyone interested in exploring the role of fashion in society to join us. As with last year, we know this year’s DEBx talk will encourage important conversations among friends and communities, along with raising funds for the work related to women and youth UWPH helps support in North Perth.”

Although we often consider fashion to be trivial, the clothing we wear speaks volumes to those around us, most of it subconsciously. An Armani suit on Bay Street communicates wealth and power. A dolly dress on a young girl communicates innocence. And sometimes what we wish to communicate gets misinterpreted by the viewer.

Muslim, Mennonite and Indigenous women in Canada know clothing’s possibilities for empowerment and challenges all too well. Hear panelists Sahver Kuzucuoglu, Melissa Hammell and Anna Wall share their experiences and expertise on what their community’s dress means to them and how it impacts their navigating Canadian society.

Join women from Stratford, St. Marys, Listowel and Huron County; in North Perth, tickets are available for the in-person event at the Listowel Golf Club. Tickets are $50 and admission is limited due to COVID guidelines. For those who prefer to watch from the comfort of home, tickets for the live stream are available for $30. Proceeds raised go toward supporting services for local women and youth including early intervention counselling for youth, counselling for children who have witnessed domestic violence and youth shelter. For a link to purchase tickets visit

About Laura Morlock, PhD

Laura Morlock is a scholar and advocate for gender equity, human rights and religious diversity. She speaks and writes on public debates over gender and cultural identity, and the ways these shape North American human rights laws and policies. Her forthcoming book Seaming Canadian: Religious Dress, Multiculturalism, and Identity Performance looks at public battles over women’s bodies through Muslim, Sikh, and Mennonite head covering controversies. Dr. Morlock holds a PhD in Religious Diversity in North America from the University of Waterloo and is a lecturer at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Anthropology Department.

About Sahver Kuzucuoglu

Sahver Kuzucuoglu holds a master’s degree in Religion and Culture, a second MA in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, and is currently a PhD candidate in Religious Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.  Born in Kitchener to one of the first Turkish families in the region, Sahver has worked for many years as interpreter/translator in the settlement of new Canadians in southern Ontario fuelled by her passion for volunteerism, community, decoloniality, pluraversality and intercultural dialogue. Her current research areas include Turkish Cultural Studies, Sufism, experiences of the invisible minority, as well as the identity negotiation of the ‘minority within a minority.’

About Melissa Hammell

Melissa Hammell is a writer, speaker, and community connector. She has lived in Ottawa, Peterborough and Kitchener-Waterloo and is proud of her Anishinabe and European mixed heritage. She has three energetic young children who share her love for drumming and singing. Melissa has over 20 years of experience working with urban Indigenous communities. As the owner and lead facilitator at Pine Gum Studio, she designs and facilitates local community events and engagements. She is also the vice president of First Peoples Group, a circle of Indigenous consultants that specializes in cultural awareness training, relationship building and project management for a diverse group of clients across the country. Melissa volunteers for several community organizations and serves as president of the board of directors for Tewegan Housing for Aboriginal Youth.

About Anna Wall

Anna Wall is a Low German-speaking aka “Mexican Mennonite,” who grew up in a Mennonite colony in Nuevo Ideal in Durango, Mexico. She writes extensively on her experiences growing up Old Colony Mennonite, including through her blog, Mennopolitan. Anna is a Low German community health worker and interpreter through the Woolwich Community Health Centre and most recently has been busy working with public health for the Low German Mennonite COVID-19 vaccination program. When we’re not in a pandemic, she is responsible for the healthy meal recipe program, literacy and prenatal health program, overseeing special programs for German-speaking children and developing Low German educational videos.

About Evangelia Kambites

A singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and multi-instrumentalist, Evangelia Kambites is a graduate of Queen’s University (BAH) and Randolph College for the Performing Arts. She was the winner of a Jessie Award for Avenue Q and a META award for Adventures of a Black Girl.