Protest

By Peter MacDonald

Protest

Protesting is ineffective

And you will never convince me that

Activism creates change.

Remain silent.

It is morally wrong to

Take a knee during the anthem,

Raise your fist in defiance and

Intentionally create discourse.

Until people began to speak up

The majority was the only voice

Black lives matter

Is a false narrative, and I believe that

All lives matter.

Resistance is futile.

I refuse to accept that

Society can and should be changed.

I will tell my children that

We must fight to uphold our rights

 

Now read from the bottom to the top.

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Here at Lisgar, we are fortunate enough to be exposed to a wide array of cultures and issues present only in Ottawa’s downtown core. There are often demonstrations near our school promoting women’s reproductive rights, anti- racism, and advocacy against police brutality. With all of the positive progress being made around us, the constructive change that is happening within our school is often overlooked.

On Wednesday, September 13th Lisgar’s Student Council held “Canada Day” as part of Welcome Wagon, the first spirit week of the new year. The purpose of the spirit day was to bring Lisgar students together; upon the announcement of the theme however, some students felt only further isolated from the school community. Students believed that patriotism and school spirit should be mutually exclusive and that by holding a Canada Day event, Student Council was supporting Canada’s history of oppressing minorities, particularly the indigenous community.

Instead of wearing red and white, many students donned black to commemorate lives lost in Canada’s residential school system. During the BBQ lunch on Wednesday, many students used the platform to advocate indigenous awareness. While the pushback was unprecedented, it was welcome; the school became engaged in a conversation wherein people on both sides could begin to understand one another.

These instances highlighted how effective a protest is when done right. In contrast to this tasteful protesting, some other students took it upon themselves to deface the Student Council poster promoting the Spirit Week. The expression was more spectacle than thought provoking; when the grandeur of a protest overshadows the objective of the activism, the protest becomes ineffective.

So please, raise your fist in defiance or wear black to school; educate your fellow students, but don’t belittle them. Tell Student Council what needs to change, but don’t trivialize the efforts of students who do try to plan events for the whole school. Have an open conversation, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Change can only occur when we listen to our peers, not ridicule them.  ♦

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