Edmonton anti-war organization marks 10-year anniversary
Published Saturday, December 1, 2012 4:21PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, December 1, 2012 6:20PM MST
Edmontonian Jim Gurnett has been protesting war and racism for a decade.
Gurnett was one of the founding members of the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism, and on Saturday, he came together with the group to mark its 10-year anniversary.
“It’s been an amazing 10 years to see the challenges that have been faced and the times we’ve had to go back as Edmontonians and join together on the street and say we want a more peaceful world,” Gurnett said.
The anti-war organization began in 2002 as a way for some Edmontonians to express their concerns over the War in Iraq.
Since then the group has organized a number of demonstrations each year.
“We usually have at least two peace rallies concerning something going on in the world as well as urging Canada to have an anti-war government, which is an underlying factor in just about everything that we do,” said Paula Kirman, a current member of the coalition.
“Ten years is a very big milestone. We’ve continued to march. We’ve continued to rally. We organize educational events.”
Gurnett says while there’s still war and conflict happening on a global scale, he believes the work the coalition has done over the last decade has made a positive impact.
“I think what we have done is maintained a voice in Edmonton that says peace matters,” Gurnett said.
“We will not allow those who have a lot of power have their way without at least speaking out and that has encouraged people.”
The group has teamed up with a number of different cultural and community groups over the years for rallies. They also follow directives from the Canadian Peace Alliance, protesting on national days of action with Canadians from across the country.
As Gurnett, Kirman and others come together to mark the milestone, they also look towards the future.
“We view our principles as ones that are worth standing up for and worth continuing to work towards and the fact that we’ve been around for 10 years and we’re planning to be around for at least another 10 years as well,” Kirman said. “That is something to celebrate.”
“The people who have been active have come and gone through the years but always there have been people who are troubled by war and have said ‘we’re not going to sit quietly and worry about it, we’re going to go out in the street and make it clear we want change,’” Gurnett said.
The Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism hopes to launch a monthly discussion group in the new year that will focus on globalization, Canada’s foreign policy, and conflict.