This movement began in the North End of Winnipeg when young people began to get fed up with having to bury their friends and watch as their brothers sister families and entire community was constantly attacked violently. They knew that they deserved better. Their families deserved better. The Next generation deserved better.
And so starting in November 2011, these young people took back their community with an initiative called Meet Me @ The Bell Tower. This grassroots movements has attracted to as many as 100 people at a time, to rally at the North End Bell Tower (on Selkirk Ave and Powers) and stand together in support of the positive things happening in our community. They watched as the city caw a record number of homicides, but responded swiftly. The FWD North End Youth Newspaper was initiated (with support from Councillor Ross Eadie), The first new banners in 19 years have finally hit Selkirk Avenue and there is no sign that these young people are slowing down.
Enter Lorenzo (Leonard Sumner)
At the 2nd rally in this movement, Hip Hop Artist Lorenzo attended as our musical guest and shared some music with us. He observed MC losing his voice trying to get attention of the people, and saw how necessary it was for the movement to have a louder voice, to rally the people together. One night, at the end of 2011, Leonard had a conversation with some Streetz 104.7 folks, including the lovely Miss Melissa, and began twittering about a North End Megaphone.
The first Megaphone arrived just in time for our first rally in 2012, Stay Fresh (it is pictured below). Now this was an exciting thing because of Miss Melissa’s initiative, now the movement COULD have a much louder voice.And on a more personal level, now I wouldn’t have to scream my voice raw every single rally, ’cause…that hurts. I any event, Miss Melissa came to drop it off at MC’s work and I was pumped. So I took it home that night, in time for the rally, was getting things ready, and tried practicing with it at my house. As I tried out speaking into the mike, it seemed like everything was swell. It was not to be. Moments later, the Mega Phone stopped working and actually began smoking!! In the end, it was returned to the Megaphone people and they said that the batteries had melted together. They had never seen anything like this before (my voice was too hot for ’em?? lol).
And so for our next rally (Friday the 13th – Be Heard) the Megaphone jumped into action. We attended a rally that saw Leonard attend, as well as Indigestar Wab Kinew. And also, for the first time, in all of our rallies, the Winnipeg Police Service sent 2 officers down to bring greetings and represent their voices. We led about 50 people down the streets to Urban Circle and observed a moment of silence so that we could remember those that are healing, or passed away from the acts of violence in our community. We then were led, by our youngest of course, back to the Indian Family Centre where we celebrated our accomplishments and held a small door prize for some books. There were some delicious wraps brought by Grace, Oh Henry from Aaron, and a few other snacks. In the end, we felt like we were indeed heard by our community and planned next week’s event.
Tell A Friend
The next week’s event was called Tell A Friend and some exciting development’s have happened. Indian Family Centre will allow us to use their space, and they have a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE (the announcement was about a new library for families). We will also have an update from Ninoondawah about the Ojigita Gathering and more! See you all next Friday @ 6.