Feminist Group Tackles Racism With Poetry

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 04:01 AM

A poetry reading event is hoping to give a louder voice to people affected by racism in Thunder Bay. 

Organizers of Poetry Against Racism say if you're in the North or South downtown today, you can listen to poems that deal with discrimination. 

Taina Maki Chahal explains poets will start out performing in the North core before moving to the South core later in the afternoon. 

Poets will read their pieces for 20 minutes at each location, before taking a 10-minute walk to the next spot. 

"The Port Arthur loop starts at noon at McVicar Creek, just north of Court Street," Chahal says. "That particular path has seen a lot of violence, it's also a beautiful place to walk. These are the conflicted places and spaces of our city." 

The tour of the North core will move to the Waverley Library at 12:30, before heading to the intersection of St. Paul Street and Red River Road at 1 o'clock. At 1:30 poets will perform at Cumberland Street at Ambrose, and the Port Arthur portion of the event will finish at the Sacred Fire Circle in the Spirit Garden from 2 o'clock to 2:30.

The Fort William loop will begin at City Hall at 4:30. At 5:00 you can listen to poets at the Court House, the Shelter House at 5:30, and the Kaministiqua River Heritage Park at 6. They'll be at McKenzie Street between Dease and Cameron at 6:30, and wrap up at 7:15 at the McIntyre River behind the McIntyre Centre on Memorial. 

The event aims to make supportive spaces for people to talk about racism, and create spaces where people who don't get an opportunity to listen to poetry or write poetry can engage with it. 

"We know that, in Thunder Bay, there has been for a long time a lot of racism. More recently, there's been a ramping-up of this real racist rhetoric that's given free rein, and then that is then masked as balanced viewpoints." 

The event is being put on by the group Northern Feminisms. (File Photo)