I have never been to a rally before. I’ve always seen them from afar and stood with the crowd in my heart but never with my presence. I’m not completely sure why not, I think it’s a mixture of not having the opportunity and a personal fear of disturbing peace. I’ll be honest I was a bit nervous when I heard about the rally coming up on November 22, but knew it was something I am passionate about and wanted to be a part of with my presence.
On that surprisingly sunny Tuesday, The Dale team and I went down to David Crombie Park to participate in both the lunch and rally. Straight away we saw some friends we knew, both from other organizations and friends from our Parkdale community. Some sweet music was playing in the background while we ate, performed by a long time friend from Parkdale whose band plays at our (now) annual Spirits in the Sky memorial. The crowd grew as it came time to officially begin.
The event opened with a beautiful indigenous ceremonial drumming and prayer. Then individuals came up one by one speaking on the injustice of housing and the demand for the city to take action on the lack of housing options needed. Some even shared personal stories about how difficult it has been. The crowd cheered on the speakers and raised their signs. I felt heavy hearing some of the facts as it reminded me of experiences at The Dale. The Dale team and some friends stood together as we listened and cheered.
At the end of the day it felt important to gather like that as a community. It’s been frustrating and hard to witness the housing crisis in the city since joining The Dale. Both working in Parkdale and moving to the city myself, has opened my eyes to this injustice that only seems to be getting worse. Many at the rally pointed out the fact that this is a “life or death” situation, especially as winter comes and as the hotel shelter programs begin to close. I’m glad that there are so many that came out and were there to take action. This day made me grateful for this community, the way they support one other, and came out to show that. It was an honour to be a part of, not only to bring my presence but to stand with my community!