Children’s Peace Theatre Presents:

8th Annual

Peace Is Possible Parade

Friday July 22, 2011

Children and their companions

Proceeding on a path to peace!

The parade will culminate in the Peace Theatre’s natural amphitheater in TaylorCreek Park, where participants are invited to watch a preview performance of:

An original play created by the

participants of Peace Camp 2011!

Details

10:15 am: Meet atShopperWorldPlaza Parking Lot                     (3003 Danforth Ave)

11:00 am: Parade begins!

[call: peace is what we need

response: to be free, to be free]

1:00 pm: Performance of What Goes Around

Children’s Peace Theatre have been facilitating half-day workshops with Torontoartists for each participating day camp to prepare for the parade. Workshops run from July 4- 21

For more info, please contact

Dania Weinstein: 416-752-1550 dania@childrenspeacetheatre.org

I love beautiful surprises. Like today, me en 2 of de village pikney set out in de hottest day yet with de intention of playing in healing [spiral] gardens. Along de path of pickin fruits n juice, receiving zawadis on de streets of this concrete jungle….we ended up in another place, not t/here

Who knew we’d end up on cherry beach, reclaimin safe spaces, swimming, feastin en building altars with beloved villagers?

Give thanks for sacred circles en divine chosen families…..your energy is healing to my soul.

My pride was filled with lessons in humbleness en healing synergy, divine thrills like brunching at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, jumpin in with di women’s health in women’s hands float/limin down yonge street @ di dyke march, gettin fed some mo @ di centre en a catchin a tan, drummin to Shango beats,  serving blackness yes!, playing with village pikney en greeting di new year with Swagger….these are wot safe spaces felt like.  I give thanks for growing within such rich en vibrant communities where not only I, but so many others can harvest di labour of god/desses organising celebrashuns of our truth.

Di spaces between last weekend na Pride, in di ‘other’ heart of downtown were  also filled with di challenges of re/claimin space n reconciling di diversity in our rainbow nations na overwhelming spectacles of ‘di corporashun’ n whiteness.

I experienced many kwanzas, missed di trans march on Friday for my first ‘straight’ Blocko in di diaspora, na pili, missed di Pride parade for the third time [in di lookin at a decade that ai’ve been in tdot] foh di first event that keeps me involved in dis beautifully evolving mess, volunteerin @ Blockorama.

We also experienced ‘new’ kinds of violence, small tings like a group of 3 sittin in a park deliberately shooting their wota guns @ 3 of us walking thru di same space on our stroll through di jungle, gettin ‘be wise what you wish for’ syndrome wot with being ‘back on di block’ en all yet progressively mo fenced in with less trees en mo concrete, mo ‘first-time’ faces en less elders, no Rob Ford en di brotha dat my dada spit on after taking in hate-filled diatribes on di streetcar that hit home that much mo’ given di timin en all.

The bigger point is, we’re still recoverin….but already I can see di rest of di summer mo than making up for di Pride that was. Weekends spent feasting in parks with bredrin en sistren in solidarity en @ Afrofest, di Peace is Possible Parade, Caribana n Wild Wota Queendoms, these are what betta times are made of.

August 1 is Emancipation Day in Canada and other countries that were once British colonies. Africans who had been enslaved in Antigua, Canada and South Africa were freed on August 1, 1834.

Africans who had been enslaved by the British in several Caribbean islands including Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Jamaica, in British Guiana (Britain’s sole South American colony) and in British Honduras (Britain’s sole colony in Central America) were subjected to a system of “apprenticeship” which lasted from 1834 to August 1, 1838.

Africans were forced to continue living on the plantations of the people who had enslaved them and worked 40 hours a week without pay (paid a pittance for work over 40 hours) as “apprentices.” They were forced to pay taxes and rent for the dreadful hovels in which they dwelled on the plantations. In 1838 two British men Thomas Harvey and Joseph Sturge documented the brutality of the “apprenticeship” system when they published The West Indies in 1837: Being the Journal of a Visit to Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica, Undertaken for the Purpose of Ascertaining the Actual Conditions of the Negro Population of Those Islands. Harvey and Sturge wrote;

“A new kind of slavery under the name Apprenticeship; an anomalous condition, in which the negroes were continued, under a system of coerced and unrequited labour.” They also observed that “the planters have since succeeded in moulding the Apprenticeship into an almost perfect likeness of the system they so unwillingly relinquished.

An equal, if not greater amount, of uncompensated labor, is now extorted from the negros; while, as their owners have no longer the same interest in their health and lives, their condition, and particularly that of mothers and young children, is in many respects worse than during slavery.”

While the Africans were suffering in slave like conditions under the apprenticeship system, white people in Britain were in self congratulatory mode. The Guardian, a British newspaper, published the following piece dated Saturday August 2, 1834:

“Throughout the British dominions the sun no longer rises on a slave. Yesterday was the day from which the emancipation of all our slave population commences; and we trust the great change by which they are elevated to the rank of freemen will be found to have passed into effect in the manner most accordant with the benevolent spirit in which it was decreed, most consistent with the interests of those for whose benefit it was primarily intended, and most calculated to put an end to the apprehensions under which it was hardly to be expected that the planters could fail to labour as the moment of its consummation approaches. We shall await anxiously the arrivals from the West Indies that will bring advices to a date subsequent to the present time.”
Meanwhile on Saturday August 2, 1834, a group of Africans were on their second day of demonstrations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad because they were furious that complete freedom was still 6 years away. Africans in the Caribbean had learned that those who worked in the fields would be apprenticed until 1840 and those who worked in the homes of the slave holders or were skilled tradesmen would be apprenticed until 1938. It is hardly surprising that on August 1, 1834 a group of angry Africans had gathered at Government House in Port of Spain. Governor George Fitzgerald Hill sent the militia out to intimidate the group but the furious Africans stood their ground recognizing that the “apprenticeship” system was a scam used by the white plantation owners and the government representatives in the Caribbean to use free African labour for a further 6 years. In spite of the presence of the militia, the protest continued until nightfall when the protesters strategically withdrew because they were not allowed to be in the town during the night.

On Saturday August 2nd, when the group of protesters returned to Government House, Hill gave the order to arrest them. There were scuffles with the militia and some of the protesting Africans were arrested, tried, sentenced to hard labour and flogging and taken to the Royal Jail. Their incensed compatriots were forced to flee but returned on the Monday to continue the protest. The numbers had swollen by Monday and there were more clashes with the militia. Some of those who were arrested on the Monday were publicly flogged in Marine Square. The protests continued the entire week before it was quelled, but several of the Africans refused to return to the plantations and instead “squatted” in districts known today as Belmont and East Dry River.

On July 25th, 1838, Governor Hill called an emergency session of the Council of Government to seek approval of a special proclamation he had drafted which ended the apprenticeship period for Africans in Trinidad on August 1, 1838 whether they worked in the fields, homes or were skilled workers. Africans throughout the region protested their continued enslavement under the Apprenticeship system and on August 1, 1838 slavery was abolished in all the British colonies.

Since the abolition of slavery Africans have celebrated August 1st as Emancipation Day or August Monday. British author J.R. Kerr-Ritchie in his 2007 published Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World: Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World has written about the global impact of August 1.

In her 2010 published Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada, African Canadian author Natasha Henry has researched and written about the history of August 1 celebrations throughout Canada including the connection of Caribana (modeled on Trinidad’s carnival) to Emancipation Day.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago was the first of the former British Caribbean countries to declare August 1 a National holiday in 1985.

In 1997 the Caribbean Historical Society (CHS) of Trinidad and Tobago, supported by the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) advocated for global recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day.

The OBHS has been successful in gaining recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day at the Municipal and Provincial level and close to gaining recognition at the Federal level.

On August 1st the OBHS will host an Emancipation Day event at Nathan Philips Square.

 I give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow, thank you for guiding us here today. Bless those who pray for us, who love (and share with) us. Bless the motherless and fatherless. Bless the homeless. Bless those sick in hospital.

Inspire those without hope, Ifa, I pray that you strengthen those without faith.  Bless our ancestors, whose shoulders we stand on.

Bless our healers and peacemakers. Bless our freedom fighters. Bless granmama dunia and our wotas. Bless all our living relatives.

Bless the pikney and guides of the peace camp & the communities we’re re/building partnerships with.

I pray for health and prosperity, not only for myself but for others.

I pray for humbleness, not only for myself but for others.

I pray for clarity and wisdom, not only for myself but for others

Forgive my sins, those that I know and those that I don’t know about, those that I have yet to commit. Forgive my foolishness.

I pray that we continue to be guided to our right/full destinies……

Ase….

Peace is possible (prayers)

I pray for health en prosperity not only for myself, but for others. Bless our healers en peace-makers. Bless the homeless, motherless and fatherless. Bless those sick in hospital. Bless all our relatives. Bless those who pray for us, and their families. Bless our wotas en grandmama earth.

[BLOGGER’S NOTES: I give thanks that the blessings of yesterday are still here today, and I pray that they may be carried to tomorrow. I am reminded every day I go to work that “peace is possible”….. that we have to work, organise, play, reason & sing [for] it, every minute of our lives.  

I give thanks that I have such good, loving folks en pikney surrounding me, every day that I go into work, and I give thanks that I’m actually getting paid for this shit, to work for peace, and work divine/love-ly tings with government money…

I give thanks that I get to work with en teach youth right close to home, give back to my hood, and I give thanks that I was guided (to) here, where I technically/really should know more of my neighbours (forgive my sins those that I do, and don’t know about. Forgive my foolishness) ]

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember July 23rd, Peace is Possible Parade and Prayer Day/Honoring Egungun/Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children¹s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

 Open letter to Tdot;

On Friday July 23rd, children and their companions will proceed on a path of peace, before that, we’ll meet to pray for grandmother earth and all our relatives @ taylor creek park, and after we will break/fast together…..

The  ”peace-is-possible” parade plan is to converge @ the parking lot of Shopper’s World, 3003 Danforth at 10:00am,

The parade starts @ 11:00am, and we’ll parade west along the danforth to dawes road, and north to (a picnic lunch in) taylor creek park

@ 1:00pm – the matinee of ‘The Space Between’ by The Peace Camp @ the peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: one version of the peace is possible parade is something like]

Drum circle with the funketeers

6:30AM – Sunrise ceremony  – Yoruba house project

A/(c)/r/ti/vists & volunteers hub

8:00 – (community) breakfast  @ the peace theatre

9:30 – Yoga class – the people project

10:00 – Dance class – house of munro

11:00 – parade led by the samba kidz & the piper: Merril Matthews

11:30 – water stop @ Dentonia  Park United Church

11:45 – silent “B.O.P” march with LAL

 

NOON  – lunch @ taylor creek park – afghan women’s catering group

 

1300 – MATINEE: THE SPACE(S) BETWEEN – outdoor amphitheatre @ the (children’s) peace theatre

305 Dawes Road

1800 – outdoor film screening @ The peace theatre

 red lips [cages for black girls] & trailers of Walking in Victor’s shoes/Nekkyd en The q[‘t] werd series

 

2000 – tambor