Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageRoots of Change brings together activists of all ages and ideals Special

By Betty Kowall     Apr 3, 2010 in Politics
Guelph - On April 1, 2010, the 'Roots of Change' storytelling celebration of activism brought together in Guelph; musicians, academics, slam poets and activists. They told their stories, performed and searched for common ground.
The wheelchair accessible event featured free food and refreshments and was held at Ed Video at 40 Baker Street in downtown Guelph. The evening opened with the acoustic song stylings of David Scott a local high school student. During his set, he performed, “Red and White on Rope,” the song he wrote as a creative response to reading the Bracelet of Hope and Tsepong clinic founder, Dr. Anne-Marie Zadjlik’s journals.
The first speaker was Doctor Teresa Turner. She was raised in the bush of northern Alberta and saw the emergence of the western oil economy, and its impact on local residents and indigenous people first hand as a young woman. This fostered a lifelong interest in the oil industry. After receiving her Ph.d from the London School of Economics she worked at the United Nations (UN) and was co-director of the International Oil Working Group (IOWG) headquartered in New York City. She discussed the role of merchant mariners' unions in maintaining the blockade on South Africa in the 1980s and the current situation in Nigeria.
She was followed by Abid Virani, a young man who attended high school in Guelph. He is the co-founder of Student Reach International. According to its website it "is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing students with humanitarian opportunities. We encourage students to Reach In to their hearts, Reach Out to their peers, and Reach Beyond all obstacles."
Abid discussed what led him to found Student Reach International and its operations, but focused on his recent time in Lesotho with Dr. Anne-Marie Zadjlik including their visit to the Tsepong clinic.
Dr. Teresa Turner discusses the international oil industry and the threats it presents to human righ...
Dr. Teresa Turner discusses the international oil industry and the threats it presents to human rights and the environment
A counterpoint to the first two speakers was provided by local environmental activist and journalist Bob Gordon. Bob discussed the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex and the struggles of a local group of activists to protect it from environmental degradation. The wetland complex is slated for development into an industrial park and its protectors have used techniques including public information, street theater and alliances with other civic and environmental groups. Last summer some of the wetland's protectors took it upon themselves to occupy the site to prevent the city and developers from destroying the Hanlon Creek with road and culvert construction. They stopped the project but are now facing a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) demanding $5 million for damages.
Abid Virani  co-founder of Student Reach International spoke about his trip to Lesotho with Dr Marie...
Abid Virani, co-founder of Student Reach International spoke about his trip to Lesotho with Dr Marie Zaidjik
After his presentation Bob spoke to DJ and explained how he went "from an objective journalist, to an environmental advocate as I researched the issue and realized the environmental threat it posed. Then when I saw the mis-truths and untruths that the city was feeding the public and the media I became an engaged and furious citizen."
Bob Gordon laughs as he addresses the audience at the Roots of Change festival of activist storytell...
Bob Gordon laughs as he addresses the audience at the Roots of Change festival of activist storytelling. He detailed the protection of the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex.
The final speaker was Mandy Hiscocks, Volunteer Coordinator for the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at the University of Guelph. An anarchist and advocate of direct action she discussed the occupation of the President's suite at the University of Guelph during tuition hike protests in the 1990s and her experiences at the G8 Summit in Seattle where protesters, Hiscocks included, were violently assaulted and gassed by police.
Several political slam poems were dramatically performed by Dave Hudson who quietly works as a librarian at the University of Guelph. His presentations were interspersed throughout the evening and following his final poem there was an open mic period where the audience could participate as well.
Slam poet Dave Hudson performs at Ed Video in Guelph at the Roots of Change storytelling event.
Slam poet Dave Hudson performs at Ed Video in Guelph at the Roots of Change storytelling event.
More about Activist, Roots change, Storytelling
More news from
Latest News
Top News