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Reflections on My First Protest

An AAP member's reflections on her first protest! (Stop the Liberal War on the Poor 2014)

It was a cold and windy day. The protest had not been planned according to the weather! Poverty Makes Us Sick - Waterloo Region, with financial support from CUPE Ontario, provided a school bus to take myself and others to my very first demonstration. I learned that people were there for many different reasons. I wore a button that said "Raise the Rates". I was there to encourage the Liberals in convention to raise minimum wage to $14 (and index it to inflation). Some people were there to raise the profile of missing and murdered Native women. One person held a sign that said, simply, "Hungry". Union representatives were there. We all brushed shoulders together as we prepared to march. There were speeches to motivate and inform us about each others' struggles. They served us a hot meal. I picked up a sign that said "Raise the Rates" and when I got tired of carrying it, I passed it on to another protester. We walked from City Hall to the Toronto Convention Centre. We made noise with pots and pans, noisemakers and voices. I was slightly scared about how the protest would unfold at the Convention Centre where the Liberal Convention was taking place. The police were there, blocking entry to the main meeting place. There were more speeches, asking, begging and demanding the Liberals to respond. Then, someone said something like this: "We are going to see if we can get in where the police are not guarding." Off they went but I drew the line there and did not go with them.. I did not want to risk being arrested. In the end, they were not arrested but did get the attention of the police and some Liberal members. Back on the warm school bus, we discussed what had happened. There was a good crowd there. A good turnout. We felt we had made a good contribution toward what the Liberals had to talk about and consider!