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  • Dollar store yarn red and white
    block the intersection outside Union Station
    A circle of people protest capitalism and imperialism.

    Singer-songwriter Amai Kuda and a member of the group Seven Directions, she pours water on the ground from a glass jar. I ask her afterwards about her motivations when carrying out this ceremony.


    " I do that at the beginning of anything public to acknowledge particularly native and African ancestors who have lost so many lives and bodies, and have suffered so much to build this system."


    She then takes the microphone and leads the circle into chants as drums and cowbells provide a steady rhythm in the background. People around the circle each take turns to address why they opposed the Pan American Economic Summit that was taking place today at Fairmont Royal York Hotel. This direct action to occupy space outside the hotel was intended to send a message to these economic leaders that they were not welcome since they are perpetuating capitalism and other systems of oppression on the world's most vulnerable populations.


    "I think if everybody begins to connect to their ancestry and the earth, it might help us to figure out how to move differently. Because we can say this is wrong all we want, but as long as we are buying paper, cellphones, computers, driving, it doesn't really help because we go in there, we sing, we talk for a while, and they are happy we are gone. I am interested in how we can tap out of that system and I think it's going to take a lot of coordination and finding earth spaces to start growing our own food, as one example."


    The circle collects as a group and walks down in front of the hotel lobby doors where Amai sings this song (audio).


    "We are here to remind them that our city is not a free-for-all."


    They are not welcome here. The storm is coming.
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