Monday, 23 January 2017

Power to the People: A weekend of protest

This weekend seemed to be filled and fueled with protest, outrage, and a fight for justice. For the most part, this was born out of the recent inauguration of now-President Trump*. Saturday, especially, was earmarked for a global movement towards the right for women to be treated as equals and to have the freedom to do with their bodies as they wish. The numbers of people that came out for these marches are quite impressive – not only in the US, where these marches were intended to stand up to Trump, but also around the world, although predominantly in Western countries. I found the response to this call-to-action inspiring. However, I didn’t really get the sense that there was concern for the rights of women outside of the United States or the West**. But while this important movement was taking place, I focused my energies on another, equally important, aspect of social justice – the empowerment of youth in the most vulnerable parts of the world.

Yesterday, I once again landed myself in Nsambya*** to celebrate the incredibly inspiring work of my good friend Abramz – a young chap who uses his own talents to empower young people to become confident, bright individuals through the use of hip hop and breakdancing. Under the name Breakdance Project Uganda, the 10th Annual Hip Hop for Society event took over the sights and sounds of those in attendance, all in the name of social improvement and community action.

While I wasn’t able to stay for the entire event, what I did see was pretty awesome. The first bit involved a freestyle session by the youngest members of the audience – some of which were as young as 3****! I have to say there’s something pretty amazing and energizing about tiny people busting moves I can’t even comprehend my body doing at almost 32! It is also incredible to see the confidence many of these participants have. Getting up on stage is difficult at the best of times, but when it involves being surrounded by countless talented individuals, this can be quite discouraging.

Abrams gets things started by introducing some talented young people on the main stage.
Upon reflecting on this event, I think we forget how great of an impact small, simple measures can have on a person; particularly someone who is still developing. Programs such as this create an environment of positivity, which serves as an outlet against other factors that take away from all that is good in this/their world. To see the growth of this event, and to hear the stories of the participants, and the transformations this program has had on them is pretty awesome! So, remember, small acts can have just as widespread of impacts as those that appear to be more encompassing. Do what you can do, and you’ll be surprised at the difference you can make!

-the Orange Canadian

*Ugh, did that ever feel weird to type out!
**This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that from what I’ve seen reported, it was mostly based on Western values of women’s rights. That being said, those that participated from my circle of friends are most certainly equally concerned about the rights of women in any part of the world, not just in the so-called developed parts!
***A community in Kampala, Uganda
****One of which introduced himself as Ice Cream under the pressure of his being questioned, and another who announced she’d come from church when asked where in Uganda she was from! 

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