Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
October 07, 2005
Poverty Issues Inspire Student-Led Rally and March
In an effort to raise public awareness of global poverty, trade justice, and childhood poverty in Canada, students at the University of Guelph have planned a march and rally for Oct.17.
Organized by the Guelph Make Poverty History Coalition, in conjunction with efforts by similar groups across the country, the rally will mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Members of the U of G community are asked to wear white and meet on Johnston Green at 11 a.m. to create a "living band." The living band is inspired by the white "Make Poverty History" bracelets that began to garner exposure during the Live 8 concerts last summer, said organizer Lindsay Stidwill. "The human band is something that people all over Canada and the world have been doing to raise awareness of these issues," she said.
The event will begin with U of G grad Ron McLester leading the group in an aboriginal ceremony reflective of his Oneida heritage.
Beginning at 11:30 a.m., participants will snap their fingers every three seconds as they leave Johnston Green and walk to Branion Plaza. There, signatures will be collected on petitions asking for increased government support, improved trade policies for developing nations and an end to child poverty in Canada. The snapping will continue until 3,000 people sign the petition or agree to personally contact the provincial and federal governments to voice their support for this campaign.
"Every three seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies from extreme poverty," said Stidwill. "We have the resources to stop this, and there's no reason anyone should be living in poverty. This needs to end."
It's also important to acknowledge that poverty isn't just an issue affecting people in underdeveloped nations, she said. "It's something that Canadians, especially children, also experience. " She noted that one in six Canadian children are living in poverty.
From noon to 4 p.m., local musicians will provide entertainment and students will have the opportunity to participate in activities to raise awareness of the need for just trade rules for farmers around the world. Donations of non-perishable food items and cash will be collected for the Guelph Food Bank throughout the day.