Yesterday, I went back to my weekly picket at St. Patrick’s Parish, to demand that they stop picketing abortion clinics. As I simply did not have the energy to attend Friday’s weekly counter-picket at the Everywoman’s Health Centre at Commercial and Broadway, I felt it was extra important to make it to the Sunday mass picket, even though I was really depleted of energy due to insomnia over recent events. And there was another “choice chain” demonstration on Robson and Howe from approximately 3-4:30 p.m., in which “Vancouver Against Abortion” deliberately attempted to traumatize as many people as inhumanely as possible, with their four-foot placards of aborted fetuses and pseudo-dialogue (I’m sure they were yelled at again). But I was busy running around Metrotown, trying to figure out with two other people if there is any policy against taking photos, since in September Burnaby RCMP dog-piled a 17-year-old for taking a single photo, and Metrotown security issued a six-month ban from the property. Turns out there is no such policy. At least two people stated they were going to counter-picket the anti-abortion hate group downtown, but I have not received updates. I am still struggling with my energy levels, so this blog post about Sunday’s picket will be relatively short.
Unlike in previous weeks, I decided this time to post a stream of consciousness on Twitter, using the hash-tag “#picketingCatholics“. There were a few times throughout the three hours I stood across from the front doors of the parish, that I just went somewhere in my own head, and momentarily stopped paying attention to what was happening around me. But for three hours, I watched a Catholic parish that seems so paranoid of outsiders entering the building from Main Street (on the corner of 13th Avenue), that all of their front doors are locked at all times. And over the same duration, as I started waving every time I saw someone walking in or out of the building, I observed anyone who appeared to be over the age of about 15, doing everything in their power to just not look at me — or even in a similar vector. Seeing as how this has been going on already for a month, I found this quite hilarious. I also observed the man with the Hitler moustache (I called him Hitler Moustache), who decided to have his pre-mass smoke break where he wasn’t directly across the street from me. I guess I must have ruined it for him, because he didn’t sneer at me and snort when he finished looking. In fact, the only parishioners who seemed to actually like being there at all were all approximately 15 years old or younger. They all waved at me, and some of them were even laughing.
I also noticed an increase in the number of people enthusiastically honking, even rolling their windows down to say thank you, waving at me, giving me a thumbs up from their passing vehicles, telling me “Good work!” as they walked past me, and taking photos. I am confident that with enough time, I won’t be the only person employing this particular method of protesting Catholics picketing abortion clinics. It’s clear to me that every time I stand out there, my message is seen by thousands of people over the course of the three to four hours I hold up that sign. I might even be more effective there, silent and alone, than at Commercial and Broadway, as a part of a small but strong and often vocal group willing to engage passersby. That certainly seemed to be the case when I picketed against “Vancouver Against Abortion”, anyhow.