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A poem by Madeleine McIsaac

Protests and art have more in common than meets the eye. Both are subjective expressions used to emphasize certain points that not everyone may recognize. Protests in and of themselves are already an act of performative art. They tell a story and have a deeper meaning that can be used as a tool to form social consciousness. This piece showcases a poetic immersive understanding based on my own experiences at protests and the feelings I felt towards the general atmosphere that inspired me to become more involved in social justice issues.

It’s Time For a Change

I hear a low rumble past my window into the streets below.

As I draw back my curtains, a wave of bodies marches past.

Voices mouth words of both frustration and delight,

As power emulates from the masses.

I am inspired.

Quickly, I grab my markers and some cardboard,

Drawing up a sign that conveys exactly what it needs to.

Big bold letters, colours bright and eye-catching,

The message is serious with just the right amount of wit.

I am ready.

Throwing on my shoes I grab my bag and prepare to descend toward the crowd.

A feeling of excitement washes over me as I walk out the door.

With my sign to the skies, I’m welcomed into the protest,

And flow seamlessly into the cause.

I am in awe.

Signs and banners fly around me, People chant and cheer,

I hear the rhythm and shout-along for everyone to hear.

Humans from all walks of life tread alongside me,

Chatting with strangers, we share our stories and dance to music.

I am motivated.

Finally, we arrive at the government buildings and prepare to make some noise

We’ve marched for several blocks now, I can barely feel my legs but still, I stand in solidarity.

I read the signs of my peers around me, and reflect on their messages,

They are deep and influential, the voice of the people.

I am empowered.

Powerful voices speak into a microphone as the crowd claps and listens intently.

Freedom of speech is not only accepted but encouraged.

Although some may have joined with the wrong intent, they are outnumbered.

This fight is beyond their understanding, maybe they’ll empathize one day.

I am bewildered.

A child no older than ten speaks confidently on her father's shoulders,

Addressing the crowd and demanding an alternative to the current rules.

The moment has come to diverge from what we knew before,

Embracing this new step into the unknown; are you ready?

It’s time for a change.

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