Still “the day after” #SOL2022

Geoff Ruggero posted a call to action, one that I also felt the urgency, but emotions still roiled: intense, undefinable, and still very messy the day after a weekend of trucks arrived in Ottawa. Their reasons for protest are swirling among a sea of hate, racism, and violence, their message lost in slogans and fear of these days after.

On Saturday, Tobi decided to travel to Perth for beautiful wool and knitting patterns feeding the need to create and avoid the invasion of sound, the protestors and honking trucks, now outside her apartment in the downtown core. When she returned she texted images of men tailgating and drinking blocking the entrance the parking garage of her apartment. They leaned toward her car window with mocking maskless faces. Curtis Perry later tweeted that he was verbally harassed in the street for wearing a mask, Amanda had strategic discussions with her elementary aged children about walking to school amidst the “protestors”, and many in Ottawa watched as images of hate filled our social media and news feeds.

My heart is hot and pounding, still because this is not “the day after”. This day continues even now. I opened the grade 9 class with questions about the #FreedomConvoy. What did they think, what did they know about the protest, the images, the conflict?

“I’m confused miss. I mean, they are fighting against one law and breaking others. They peed on the monuments and did all that stuff on the tomb of the unknown soldier… but what does that have to do with vaccine mandates?”

I said that this was a good question and we decided to explore the meaning of statues and symbols which appeared in the media. We read and talked in an attempt to interpret the imagery found in their news feeds. They researched the Confederate flag, the Nazi flag (most of them knew about this already), Terry Fox, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We all shared our research and made connections with race, and class, and privilege. I then asked them to do some research on other protests which have happened in the past 10 years in Canada.

Faces looked up from screens and the room shifted. Gradually, this once boisterous, and vocal class fell silent, many choosing not to share or speak. This group were nearly unrecognizable with all eyes on me in what seemed a pleading for sense-making. Wading in mud of that moment, I felt I could not rush. Instead, I needed to draw from the foundation laid in the course – critical consciousness from our study of This Book is Anti Racist.

We were still in that moment – all of us – sitting with the need to continually address “the day after”.

6 thoughts on “Still “the day after” #SOL2022

  1. I read about what happened in Ottowa from afar and was aghast. (Similar things happened in Orlando, FL this past weekend, but it had a different feel.) BOTH are horrible. These symbols of hate are horrendous. As a Jewish woman who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I just can’t believe this is where we are — as humanity.

    Thanks for linking to This Book is Anti-Racist. I’m going to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am working actively to build an antiracist practice which fights all forms of oppression. I can’t believe we are here, BUT, I cannot sit idle and watch.

      As a white teacher, I have privilege and try to affect change. I always hold this hope 🙏

      Thank you, Stacey


  2. Melanie, This beautifully captures what I think is an important moment in their lives – the day you helped them see the bigger picture as it all exploded around them. We had some interesting conversations at home about all of it and how things very quickly went sideways. It is really interesting how this protest seemed to become something other than originally advertised, and yet something we maybe should have seen coming all along. (I think so anyway.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. People may believe they have something in common and move in large groups for a cause that feels worthy and justifiable. But it’s when the recognizable symbols of hatred become violence that the responsibility lies on the ethics of the protesters and not the witnesses. They didn’t react and condemn these acts of disrespect, racism, antisemitism. And then there are the citizens who live in the area and i’ve been harassed with noise or drunken bodies or mask less protestors mocking those who choose. I simply cannot understand the hypocrisy of this.

      We are still in another day after.

      Liked by 1 person

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