Protest the bigots at City Hall

This is the day City Council will vote to break the tie vote from this week's Transit Committee meeting and decide whether or not to allow our atheist ads on the city buses. Our list of people coming to the protest next week currently stands at 17. The plan is to meet at the Lisgar Street entrance to City Hall (just east of Elgin Street) at 9:15 am. We will put on the protest Tshirts. The shirts will say "Why not in Ottawa?" followed by the bus ad on the front, with the names of the Humanist Association of Ottawa, the Freethought Association of Canada, and atheistbus.ca. The back of the shirts will list the cities where the ads are already running, along the lines of a rock concert tour, with "Ottawa?" at the bottom. After discussion, we decided not to do the prisoner idea, because we felt it was not in keeping with our goal to show that Humanists are normal people found everywhere in our society, rather than oddities. We will put out a press release to the media. This worked extremely well last time. We will do our protest inside City Hall, right outside the room where City Council will be meeting. Their meeting starts at 10:00 (The media will be coming to the meeting anyway, which will greatly increase our press coverage). We don't yet know what time of day the motion about the bus ads will be debated, but we hope to have many people stay or return for the debate so that the media can get our reactions afterwards. If you are coming to the protest we would much appreciate knowing before this weekend, when Seanna will be making the shirts, as she needs to know how many to make. The Tshirts will all be Large size - which fits well over clothing even for small people - but if you want a larger size let us know. Please email me at [masked] if you are coming to the protest. If you're not already a member of the Humanist Association of Ottawa, we'd like to invite you to consider joining our community. Membership costs $20 a year, $25 for a couple, and less for students and people with low incomes. You can find out more about our Association and how to join at ottawa.humanists.net. Membership forms are in the "contact us" section. Of course, you're welcome at the protest whether you're a member or not. Julie [masked]

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  • Derrick G.

    It's really something to be able to go out and make a difference. Freedom of speech has been successfully defended!

    March 12, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a fabulous time. I was very pleased with the outcome of council. We have a great group here in Ottawa.

    March 11, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    Went well, lots of press, and they passed the motion!

    March 11, 2009

  • Feliks

    The Reason prevailed :-)
    And we had some fun, too.
    Great group of people.

    March 11, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I thought it was well organized and very effective. The presence of so many people standing for the right to free speech and free opinion was inspiring.

    March 11, 2009

  • Peter Sloan/Rosemary L.

    Several people came who were NOT members but had heard about it (including 3 brothers of school age). Outside were many kids from a religious school singing Jesus loves me etc. with big placards. Some of us engaged them in friendly discussion based on mutual respect rather trying to convert the other. Paul? had his guitar and was a.great hit. There were some media scrums but I am not sure who from our group was interviewed. Lucy vanOldenbarneveld was there from CBC.

    March 11, 2009

  • Nick

    Sorry gotta work or I'd go

    Will probably be off about 3:30 or so, will see if I can get off early - ill come down after that

    March 10, 2009

  • Michel C.

    I am wondering about the Red Shield Campaign by the Salvation Army, usually held in the Spring. The Salvation Army is one of the most conservative, anti-choice and homophobic churches in the world. (Yes, they are indeed a Church and a religion. Look them up in Wikipedia.) Many people find them very offensive. Personally, I give to groups like the Shepherds of Good Hope. But every Spring their ads are on lamp-posts all over Ottawa. Do they pay for this? Do they get it free from Ottawa?

    March 6, 2009

  • Michel C.

    Other forms of "religious" advertising that have been allowed over the years include:
    "Dare To Be A Priest Like Me" commissioned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Toronto in 1983. These ads, which ran on public transit in the Toronto area, featured a close-up photo of Christ on the cross montaged on an aerial view of a modern metropolis. The ad was part of a recruitment campaign for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Nobody denied the right of the RC Church to run this ad.

    March 5, 2009

  • Michel C.

    Thanks, Julie and Seanna. I may bring a sign on bristol board (light cardboard) for the outside demo and then when it is time to go inside I can fold it up and just chuck it in a trash basket outside the building.

    March 5, 2009

  • Julie

    Hi Michel,
    We will have labels to go over our mouths with the word "CENSORED" written on them. We will not be allowed to have signs inside City Hall, which is why we are writing our message on Tshirts. If you bring a fold-away sign in a bag, you would be able to display it outdoors - we have a singer who will perform a song titled "Freedom of Expression" outdoors at a time which is convenient for the media, and you could hold up your sign during the song.
    Julie

    March 5, 2009

  • Seanna

    Signs are not permitted in the council chambers, which is why we went with the T shirts. Tape will be available.

    March 5, 2009

  • Michel C.

    Are we going to use the Tape-on-mouth gesture, or just the T-Shirts and the bus sign? Can we bring our own signs? I was thinking of bringing one that says "Freedom of Religion includes Freedom FROM religion."

    March 5, 2009

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