In a powerful display of civil society solidarity yesterday, ten thousand people took to the streets of Toronto to call on G20 leaders to end poverty, tackle global warming and create a global economy that's fair for all of us.
Oxfam was a strong presence at the event. A crew of members, staff, and volunteers braved rain and exhaustion to march with coalition groups.
The energy of positivity and solidarity that that made up the bulk of the rally provided stark contrast to the Summit meetings themselves, the results of which have been largely disappointing.
Instead of new money for old promises, we got old money, re-pledged, recycled and renamed. The promise made at Gleneagles in 2005 to increase aid by $50 billion by 2010 was abandoned. And the small G8 initiative on maternal and child health seems like little more than an attempt to divert attention from overall failure to meet aid promise.
We’re often asked what we’re doing at these Summits. Why do we rally, and have stunts? What’s the deal with the Big Heads, anyway?
Put simply, The Big Heads help us communicate Big Ideas. First unveiled at the Kananaskis G8 in 2002, they intended to be sassy but not disrespectful. They let us construct three dimensional political cartoons that attract the attention of the media and to energize our supporters.
As to why we’re here … we have to be. G8 leaders can play a critical role in marshalling the will and the resources to tackle these urgent issues. So they need to hear from us. And we’re in Toronto to make sure they do.
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