Occupy Wall Street Comes to Canada October 15

by | October 8, 2011
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, Politics

by Sarah Jensen

Ever get the feeling that at any moment, life as you know it could completely change?  It sometimes feels like civilization could collapse in an instant.  Women are losing access to abortions and the right to control their own bodies; an innocent man may have been murdered by the U.S. Government; social programs are having their budgets cut or removed.  More people are forced to rely on food banks for their next meal and finding a decent, full-time job is becoming next to impossible.  It can be hard to wake up each day when part of you fears that it may be your last before the world starts quickly unravelling.

But at other moments, it feels like the world might be starting to change for the better. Gay Marriage is becoming accepted and legalized in more and more places; women in Saudi Arabia were just given the right to vote.  In New York City, thousands of people have joined together to say that they want something better for themselves, for their country and for the world.

This is a pivotal moment that could change history. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. This is the rallying cry you’ve been waiting to hear.

Occupy Toronto is an event currently being planned for October 15th; it currently has over 5,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook.  Occupations are also being planned for Halifax, Montreal, Victoria, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saint John, Winnipeg and Ottawa.  No leader dictates this revolution; it is truly thousands of people coming together to change things for the better.  People of all races, faiths, genders and sexualities are joining together; communicating with, learning from and inspiring each other.

“Granny Peace Brigade” at Occupy Wall Street

Mainstream media has been either ignoring the movement or criticizing it for a lack of clear goals and demands.  The part of the movement that’s being criticized is part of what makes it so beautiful to behold.  Everyone is being given a voice.  Once everyone has spoken and been listened to we can determine what the goals are, and then work together to achieve them.

The people who drive the movement aren’t criminals, thugs or troublemakers.  They are regular people, like you and I, saying that just barely getting by isn’t.  The planet could provide enough for everyone to share, but corporations are raping the earth while lining their pockets with the spoils.  As a victim of literal rape, I don’t use the word lightly; ‘rape’ is the most accurate word to describe the business world’s present relationship with Mother Nature.

We’ve had enough; we’ve waited for Prince Charming to save us, but he’s busy watching Jersey Shore.  We need to realize just how powerful we really are, and save ourselves as well as each other.  Each person needs to stand up and do what he or she can.  There is no superhero waiting for the right moment to swoop down and save us from the clutches of evil, but if enough of us stand together we can raise an army. Not an army to kill and loot, but one fighting for the collective good of humanity.  We’ll use our hearts and minds as our weapons: some of us have forgotten what powerful tools they are.

The future is being planned right now; make sure you’re included in the plans.  The rallying cry of this revolution is “We are the 99%!”  Women are 52% of the 99%, and it’s our future too.  Though we’ve made progress we’re still a long way away from equality.  The hardest part of our battle is making others aware of how much there is that needs to be fought for still.  There was a 29% Gender Wage Gap in Ontario last year, and this disparity is larger if you’re part of a minority. That’s nowhere close to good enough.

Women are still raped, beaten, assaulted and abused in our country. That’s not acceptable.  Women worldwide are kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery.  Girls, mere children, are married off against their wills, often to men many times their age.  Plan Canada states “Girls and women are particularly affected by poverty. This is partly because they have less power to fight it, less access to the means to overcome it, or their entire families are suffering in poverty.  Being born underweight, given little or poor-quality food and having little or no education can prevent girls from developing properly. Poverty can also force girls to work or get married at young age instead of going to school.”

It’s not good enough for us, or women and girls around the world. Now is our chance to change it.

Get involved in your closest Occupy movement.  Even if you can’t spend days camping out on the street, standing with protestors in support for a couple hours makes a difference.  Printing out posters and hanging them up around your town makes a difference. Sharing positive stories, pictures and videos with your friends on Facebook makes a difference.

You can make a difference. You can help to change the world. The world needs you; join the fight to make it a better place for everyone.

-Sarah Jensen

Photo Credits: “Granny Peace Brigade” by Sasha Kimel via Wikimedia Commons.

“Second Time I’ve Fought for My Country” by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

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