is a rainy day event; Toronto
the 25 in 5 Poverty Protest,
and now the Occupy
Let no one tell you that we are fair-weather activists!
I got out of the subway at King and headed east to
Jarvis St. where I
was to meet up later with a friend at the main doors to the St. James
Cathedral. The church had generously permitted the occupiers use of the
adjoining St. James Park.
When I arrived at the corner I was struck by the delicious irony of seeing a big, white, antique Bentley and a black stretch limo curbed at the foot of the walk leading to the cathedral with the Occupy Toronto as a background. This was the first shot that I took but unfortunately I deleted it to make room for another, otherwise I would happily send it to the newlyweds. One can only imagine the delight of the bride and her parents when they discovered their precious moment to be blessed by the “99%”. I had to smile.
I made a beeline right into the thick of the crowd to feel out the vibes and soon caught up with this character, a cross between Moses, Yasser Arafat, Ray Charles and the NHL! This, my friends, is the Prophet of Anti-Profit in his ‘coat-of-many-slogans’. I think he is one of
At this point I was getting caught up in the drumming, chanting, banners in many colours, signs of all shapes and sizes and very clever slogans and cartoons. These people had brought their sense of humour to the party not just righteous indignation at the “1%”.
I bisected the core and began browsing around the outer edges and marveled at the variety of smaller gatherings voicing their concerns. The gathering was a healthy diversity of humanity, families with children, students of all ages, First Nations (whose land we are occupying), adults, seniors, LGBT, people in full costume, people wearing funny objects, People in for the long haul with their tents and gear, people here for the day (the day-after-day). I thought there were about 1,000 people but I heard later there were 2,000 – 3,000 in the march in the morning.
We are the 99%
The Organization of this group was incredible; bathrooms (donated porta potties), logistics tent, food tent, medical tent, info tent, legal tent, gazebo (where general assemblies are held and entertainment, media tent and LIBRARY!!
The atmosphere in general was other-worldly; snippets of Wonderland, flashes of Oz, wisps of a 1001 Nights (incense, etc), traces of Turtle Island, snatches of the Lord of the Rings, the Tao, Buddhism, Gandhi, Jesus (being next to the cathedral)…
“The Cathedral did not invite the protesters into the Park. The Cathedral is not involved in the protest. We have, however, treated the protesters in the way that our faith and sense of humanity directs: with respect and dignity. For over 200 years, St. James Cathedral has been a place where divergent opinions have come to be expressed in a safe and respectful environment.”
The Very Reverend Douglas A. Stoute
Toronto and Rector of St. James Cathedral
At the time of this writing there are over 1500 Occupations and growing all over the world. According to Michael Moore there are more than 59% of Americans support the Occupy Movement. It has a very powerful energy that is popping up like mushrooms all over the place on a damp fall morning, unpredictable, small but each one capable of releasing millions of spores.
The last time there was a movement similar to this was born in the 60’s that rode on the electric current of love, sex, drugs and Rock and Roll, but yet it succeeded in bringing global awareness to injustices of that time, Civil Rights, Feminist Equality, War, corruption. You could argue that the issues of those days are still not solved, but we were fighting on a battlefield chosen by our adversary, and the only victory that we can truly claim is that freedom of the spirit is unconquerable.
The beauty of the Occupations is the diversity of causes that is impossible for the adversaries to divide and conquer, to isolate the vulnerable and crush it – we are divided, and intentionally so. We have weaved our diverse conversations to concentrate our force against the target of injustice, and like the mushroom, we are popping up everywhere and releasing billions of spores.
Having completed almost the circle this granite stone I happened to see just in front of me when a crowd parted after listening to a speech. I call it Memorial to the Unknown Person. The fragments of script indicate a final, bittersweet letter to a person who would never read it but wrote it anyway as a form of closure and a call to keep the torch of justice alight.
I never did meet up with my friend but knowing that he would be experiencing this serves as my having been there with him. This is an experience shared by all who are involved.
Please share the experience if you can’t actually go there by visiting the following links:
OFFICIAL LIVESTREAM FOR OCCUPY