By Amy Bourne
Terrorist attacks and threats of war weren’t enough to stop Ryerson activists from meeting last Wednesday, said RyeSAC’s v.p. education.Alex Lisman opened the meeting by announcing that Ryerson’s administration asked them to postpone or cancel the meeting in light of last Tuesday’s attack on the United States. “Yesterday’s [September 11] events are on everyone’s minds tonight, but issues in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada don’t stop when a plane crashes into a building,” he said o the students and people from the community who turned out at Oakham House.
Guest speaker John Clark, a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, said the surprise attack killed as many people as poverty does everyday. “The World Trade Centre incident is exactly why we need to build a movement,” Clark said. “Thousands and thousands of people died in New York. The agenda we are confronting takes that many lives every day of every year.”
Other speakers included members of the First Nations aboriginal student services and former RyeSAC president Erin George, who was at the G8 protest in Genoa, Italy where a 23-year-old activist was shot and killed by police. Joel Duff, of the Canadian Federation of Students, spoke passionately about tuition fees and the right to an education. Some activists chatting at the front of the room, were obvious regulars. Others quietly checked out the scene from the back row.
Sam Gusway, a 25-year-old artist, doesn’t go to Ryerson, but is a “lover of aboriginal thought.” He came out for the first time on Wednesday. “If you’re interested in these topics, this is the place to be.”
“I just came to see what’s being told to people,” Gusway said. “The speakers seemed a little one-sided, but I guess that means that everybody will have to think for themselves when they leave here,” he said. Still Gusway thinks he’ll be back.
The next Ryerson Activist General Assembly will be held this Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. at Oakham House.