Sunday, August 24, 2014

Carifest & Protests

The Synchronicity gods were smiling on me yesterday.  They bumped the beginning of the Carifest Parade to 11:00 a.m. which gave me an hour to chase the parade from Olympic Plaza to 4th Street (about 6 blocks), snapping merrily the whole way and then 1/2 hour to get to work.  

Bumped into my friend, Len, who is a regular sight at any multicultural event. Groups who organize festivals or multicultural events know Len Chan.  He has gotten me free media passes to a few events that I would have had to pay.  In return I share whatever I shoot with the organizers of the festivals. Win, win.  Sometimes I even get fed.

It was uncertain whether I'd be able to do any shooting for this year's Carifest due to organizers deciding to move it from June to August to avoid the rains (and on a day that I was scheduled to work).  There are pretty elaborate costumes in the parade that cost hundreds of dollars to build and don't do well in rain.  Yesterday's forecast? Rain! Luckily, while it was overcast and chilly it didn't rain.

In a previous blog entry I fussed about not being able to shoot the Parade or Sunshine Festival because of work.  But it all turned out okay.  I took an hour's worth of photos, went to work, then took another hour's worth of photos at the end of the day at the Sunshine Festival. 

Every year I send my photos to the Carifest organizers and the past two years they have used one of my photos for their posters, advertising, and banners.  There was a bit of weirdness during the parade yesterday when I caught myself watching the participants for the next poster moment.  At first my timing was off (I have a lot of dud photos) until I realized what I was doing and decided to just go with the flow.

Actually, it turned into a twofer day. On the way to work I bumped into a small group of activists rallying in front of City Hall in support of Ferguson, Missouri protesters. Recently a young black man, Mike Brown, was shot six times by a white police officer. Witnesses say there was no provocation and three forensics autopsy reports found that the 18 year old had his hands up in surrender. Grant Neufeld, local everywhere activist, was happy to see me and I took as many photos as I could before rushing to work. 

While I can see the activists' point, the racism at home needs to be addressed much more urgently.  Just a few days ago a missing teenage First Nations girl, Tina Fontaine, was found murdered.  She was not the first. According to CBC News: 
"In May, the RCMP issued a detailed statistical breakdown of 1,181 cases since 1980. It said aboriginal women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women."
Many First Nations people have called for a national inquiry.  Prime Minister Harper doesn't see a need, calling them murders crimes and not racially motivated.  

You have to wonder if there's something to hide. Something to rally against like the protesters in Missouri.

So, Saturday was a day mixed with joy and protest and synchronicity.

Here are some of the photos of the day.

This guy wasn't actually part of the parade.  Judging by his t-shirt, I think he was doing a charity marathon on his monster unicycle.


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