It was a glorious day in all respects. We could not have asked for better weather after nearly three days of rain. The sun was shining, there was a little breeze in the air to go along with the murmurings of anticipation.
My husband and I arrived a few minutes early at Carre St-Louis and sat on a park bench sipping our coffee (black for him and soy cappuccino for me). We could see a line of people, mostly garbed in black, some carrying signs and some not, sauntering up the path to the centre of the park where the organizers were setting up.Two of the organizers from KARA were preparing the banner for the front of the march.
The Montreal Vegan Rejects, of which I am a new member, had a little table set up with recommended for reading about Veganism.The organizers outlined the goals of the march as well as the rules for peaceful and respectful marching, while cameramen from CBC and CTV filmed the happenings.
The participants of about 250 strong chose a provided sign to carry or proudly held one of their own.
And then the march began.
We followed along as witnesses and actually I am very glad to have done so, because there are many things I would have missed had I not. The beginning of the march brought words of sarcasm and cruelty from a young man sitting on a terrasse (Montreal lingo for Patio). He chanted, with a look of derision on his face. “We love pork, we love eating lamb, we get all excited about it.” I took a small amount of comfort in seeing that his companions seemed to be very embarrassed, either by his words or his lack of respect. But we moved on, without responding.
There was lots more to see as we followed along.
But then I saw this:
I spent some time spectating the spectators in order to see their reactions. Some walked by without even noticing . Others stopped and chatted while they watched and some gave shouts of solidarity and flashed the peace sign at the marchers. One lady stood beside her bike watching as the tears flowed down her face. Shopkeepers stepped away from their busy days to stand in silence and to bear witness.
In the entry way of a shop I saw a young girl respectfully showing the peace sign as she stood watching. She looked so supportive of the marchers that I stopped to ask her if I could take her picture. She said yes and started searching around in her the back of her top until she found a little mouse who had been hiding there. She lovingly put him on the palm of her hand, made the peace sign and posed for me. After I took her picture, I said to her, “So, I gather you are for all the animals, ” “Oh yes”, she said. “Oh yes” and she waved goodbye.
My attention returned to the marchers. My friend and fellow vegan L., who I had just met through The Montreal Vegan Rejects ,stopped and posed for me as I took her pic. She said that together we could do something and make a difference. She had already made a difference-a positive difference in the life of this vegan who believes that tilting at windmills can bring about positive change. Thanks L.
Bringing up the last, but not least part of the march was a gentleman with a cane. He was limping a bit and I guess it must have been tough for him to keep up. But there he was, walking with determination. My hat is off to him! He represents the passion of selfless caring that is germane to our goal of liberation for all nonhuman animals.
The march ended in Parc Lafontaine where we gathered for a ceremony of sorts, some final words from the organizers and some silent reflection. It was a beautiful ending to a peaceful event.
My husband and I headed home, pooped out from our day of witnessing and walking. We managed to put together a delicious vegan meal to end a delightful and inspiring vegan day.
No added fat baked fries, black bean dip and broccoli and cherry tomatoes from Lufa, with a splash or two of vegan red wine!!!!!—-oh dear! I almost forgot about the ketchup. One does need ketchup with fries!!
Annie’s Vegan View
Take a chance and try something new. Join a march, introduce yourself to people who share a similar vision. Be open to listening to and learning from their perspectives.
There will always be detractors. Don’t let them draw you into their negativity. At the very least, it will upset you and may distract your from your journey.
Spend some time being a witness to a cause in which you believe deeply. It can be exhilarating and life confirming.
Never doubt that seemingly small steps can have a huge impact when someone is walking beside you. Thank you to all the people who cared enough to organize and participate in this march. It was truly uplifting! Until next time,
May all beings be happy and free.