My darlings, if you are afraid today, if you are worried that you are fighting alone, know this:
Today, in Yellowknife, it was -21C (and it is dropping, not getting warmer). And yet, 130 people (all genders, my lovelies!) showed up to spend two hours in the cold, even though normally 50-60 people tend to show up at marches here, and the only time I’d seen these numbers at a march was once for Idle No More, and there was no snow on the ground at the time.
The organizers, even, were pleasantly surprised by the numbers that turned up. The police/municipal enforcement weren’t prepared for us (which got a cheer from the crowd). We stopped at various rallying points to hear speeches from members of the community ranging from representatives of our new Rainbow Coalition, the organization representing persons with disabilities, the Indigenous communities, advocates working to end violence against women, health care representatives… the list went on.
We didn’t have a police escort but cars just pulled aside and let us go by, some honking in solidarity. A couple of taxis pulled over to wave at us and take pictures, one man with his fist raised in support out his open window even though he wasn’t wearing gloves and it is pretty damned cold out. My bookstore colleague and friend ran out on her lunch hour just to join us when her relief showed up early, even though she was wearing thin tights and a skirt today. Among the speakers, representing the immigrant community, was new to Canada, proudly wearing her hijab under her parka and doing public speaking for the very first time, as Rami Kassem, who translated her speech for her told us. An immigrant himself, he owns the coffee shop where the march ended, and told the entire crowd that coffee was on the house. That’s right - 130 people were invited to fill his space to capacity without profit.
There are good people here,but also ALL OVER THE WORLD who marched for you, with you today, and even more who could not join in body but were there in spirit to say your rights matter to us, that we will build bridges not walls, that we will not stand idly by, we will not be silent.
In the words of a sign I saw one of the men holding, “If you will not respect our existence, expect resistance”. We will not be idle. We will not be silent. We are with you.
(Edited to add the group shot that just went up on Facebook! I can just see the top of my blue sign, the rest of me hidden by taller people!)
Jan. 21, 2017
A Message to Trump (March Poem)
I will not sit idle and watch you erase my culture of disabled people coming together and fighting for what is ours
I will not sit here and watch you mock my community and do nothing
You cannot control everything
You may have tapped into the racism and bigotry in this country
You may be in the White House because of a centuries old system put in place when almost no one had access to an education
But you sure as Hell don’t deserve to be there
I will not let you steal arts education from our country’s children
I will not let you and your homophobic minions
Steal my right to marry who I love
Adopt and parent my children
And have the life I need and want through your bigotry
I and the majority of this country will fight you every step of the way
You cannot legislate my body
Strip our most vulnerable of the resources they need to heal themselves after abuse
Or take health care away from people who can’t afford obscene out of pocket medical costs
You are a disgusting human being
And I am counting the days until you leave office
You will never be my president