Calgary has always been a city of confluences. The original description of the city is that it was founded at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. This weekend, on those same rivers, there is a whole lot of confluence happening.
The Occupy movement has reached Calgary (and other Canadian cities). The demonstration tomorrow is scheduled for 1:00 PM local time, outside of Banker’s Hall. I have no opinion on this movement, as I’ve not devoted enough time studying it to have an informed idea of what’s going on here.
According to the local news, in typically polite Canadian fashion, the protesters spent this afternoon practicing how to be courteous during the demonstration. Unlike the movement in the States, goal of our occupation seem a little nebulous. One man was quoted as saying, “I’m not sure what my end game will be here, only that I want to be a part of this.”
The downtown demonstration coincides with the second-to-last day of Wordfest, an annual six-day festival that brings together over 70 writers and thousands of readers whose end game is simple. To bring together people who revel in a love of reading and writing. And to include a strong Book Buddies program that targets at-risk youth in the hope of getting them hooked on reading. Wordfest is on Facebook and @wordfesttweets if you’re interested in taking a look. From the location where I’ll be attending three workshops tomorrow, I should be able to see the demonstrators. It should be a busy day downtown.
Just south of downtown, the Ujamaa Grandma's, a group of local women, are sponsoring a wonderful two-day craft sale of handmade clothing and toys. These women have no doubt what their end game is: to provide financial support to African grandmothers who are raising children orphaned by the AIDS/HIV epidemic. The money is used to pay for food, shelter, school fees, income-generating projects, grief counseling, HIV/AIDS education and, sadly, coffins.
As both a writer and a fiber artist, there are times that I am firmly convinced that the knitting needle and the sewing machine are more powerful change agents than either the picket sign or the pen. This weekend is one of them.
300 protesters at a peaceful demonstration.
Way more than 300 attendants at each of the workshops I was at.
No word posted from the grandmothers yet. I imagine they are having a well-derserved sleep in. But if the crowd on Friday was any indication, they did well.