Yesterday's event was awesomely fabulous! As one Campaigner said: we kicked out the jams.
The plan was fairly complicated, but everyone played their parts perfectly, and the whole thing ran very smoothly. The Bloor Street United Church was packed with supporters, and best of all, most of them were new faces. All but a small handful of people stayed until the end.
The speakers were in turn moving, inspiring and uplifting. I won't try to list them all, because I'll surely leave someone out. But I think the crowd was especially affected by hearing war resisters themselves speak. Their stories are so moving, you feel awed by their presence. Sara Marlowe, a singer and songwriter who is a central Campaigner, was the emcee, and she did an amazing job of pulling everything together and keeping the event moving briskly.
When the speeches concluded, Jamine Aponte, one of our incredible organizers (who is married to a war resister), announced the letter writing. As she got the crowd pumped, Campaigners fanned out with the materials we had assembled. A slide show helped with talking points and names, and Chris Brown played while everyone worked on their letters. No one left during the letter-writing, which was really cool to see.
For a while everyone was just scribbling away. Then the doors flew open, a whistle broke the silence, and Samba Elegua came a-banging in. The samba squad led all the people - and their letters - off to the post office. I stayed at the church to staff the lobby table (donations were pouring in), but I heard the short march was really high-spirited and fun.
Later, while celebrating at a pub, we heard reports from rallies in Ottawa, Vancouver and elsewhere: all smashing successes.
There were tons of media there yesterday, including CBC Radio, CTV, CityTV and Global. Global did a very positive story that included a brief clip from our Victoria chapter, showing this to be a national campaign. If you go here and choose "resisting with letters," you can watch it.
Here's coverage from: the Sudbury Star, the Toronto Sun, the London (Ontario) Free Press and the Ottawa Sun. Rabble.ca posted this first-person account from a resister.
About the demonstrations at Canadian Consulates in the US, the CBC website had this report, and this account from San Francisco - including an excellent photo - was posted on Bay Area IndyMedia.
Allan photographed the Toronto event for the Campaign, but we're working today and haven't been able to post the photos. I did get a link to this beautiful slide show of the event - which includes a photo of Tom from Canadian Hope mailing his letter! Nick from Life Without Borders is half-hidden behind Tom. (I was so happy they came to the event.)
Now it's up to Stéphane Dion. Will he stand for the illegal, immoral war, or stand behind people of conscience?
Posts on something other than war resisters coming soon, I promise!
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Photos from the Toronto event are here, here, here and here.