Live Well, Do Good

Now is the Season for Community Events

Brandon Sun, October 14, 2007 - David McConkey

Participating in three events in the last few weeks was enjoyable and meaningful for me. It was also a reminder of important issues and active citizenship, especially during the month of October.

On Saturday, September 29th, my wife and I rode our bicycles as part of the Critical Mass rally. This Brandon event, like those organized in other cities, promotes safe bicycle routes through urban areas. It was an important message and a fun event.

Great co-operation from police, passing motorists, and the weather made the day a real success. (Brandon’s event, not surprisingly, was more mellow than some other cities!)

The next Wednesday, I was off to the Sportsplex for the “World Record Walk” effort. This was Brandon’s share of the nation-wide attempt to make a new Guinness world record for the most people walking a kilometre at the same time.

There was a large turnout – from elementary school kids to seniors. Add in wonderful weather and smooth organization and there was another successful event. (Meanwhile, also as part of the “Manitoba in Motion” program, my wife participated at her workplace in the “Walk for Wellness Challenge.”)

The final tally is not yet in, but early results show that Canadians set a new world record. In Manitoba alone, 300 events were registered, with almost 50,000 participants. Congratulations to all – a world record walk is a big feat!

Wednesday also marked the occasion with the most serious theme: ending violence against women. The “Take Back the Night” march was held that evening. Previous marches had been for women only, but this one welcomed everyone. Men were invited to celebrate the progress made in making the world safer for women.

I was delighted to feel invited. The Brandon University Students Union did a super job of organizing. In addition to the march itself, there were speakers, music, a table full of resources, and hot chocolate and cookies.

Even the weather, which started off with a bit of rain, co-operated - including a glorious rainbow in the eastern sky where we were headed. As we looked up in awe, a friend we were walking with remarked at how good it was that we are still moved by the natural world.

These events are like many others which provide opportunities for insight, information, and involvement. These events can be uplifting for us as individual citizens, and strengthening for us as a community.

For meaningful days and weeks, this time of year does some heavy lifting. In addition to the ones already mentioned (not to mention Thanksgiving and Halloween), here is a list of happenings that I have noticed:

  • CIBC Run for the Cure (September 30)
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)
  • Mental Illness Awareness Week (September  30 - October 6)
  • International Walk to School Week (October 1-5)
  • National Family Week (October 1-7)
  • World Breastfeeding Week (October 1-7)
  • Sisters in Spirit (October 4)
  • Fire Prevention Week (October 7-13)
  • Household Hazardous Waste Day in Brandon (October 13)
  • Co-op Week (October 14-20) 
  • Small Business Week (October 14-20) 
  • Waste Reduction Week (October 15-21)
  • World Food Day (October 16)
  • International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17)
  • International Credit Union Day (October 18)
  • United Nations Day (October 24)
Even though these events often involve large agencies, governments and businesses; individual contributions are still vital. For one thing, individual volunteers are important in making these events happen locally.

As well, every individual adds to the mass that makes an event more significant. Think about attending when you next hear of an opportunity – even one more person makes a difference. Participants also make the media notice more and so spread the message further.

Our community and our democracy are brought to life by citizen participation, one individual at a time. Just showing up for an hour or two can help us reclaim and sustain our individual and social health and well-being.

* * * 

See also:

Celebrating Co-operatives 

Reflecting on Consumption 

A Year of Living Generously

Community Shared Agriculture:  A Growing Notion

Citizen Active

Live Well, Do Good

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