PowerShift, as a name for a gathering, captures the essence of what needs to take place in order for justice to be a central consideration in actions needed to address the multitude of interconnected issues plaguing Canada and the world today. At the time I attended PowerShift in 2012, I had been maintaining hopefulness towards the state of our planet and its peoples’, but I was constantly challenged by a sense of powerlessness. The frustration over the inaction my country’s leaders were taking around climate change and fossil fuel dependence and environmental injustices was growing, and so I leapt at the opportunity to attend a climate justice gathering at the suggestion from a friend.
In my experience, PowerShift was the manifestation national frustration where hundreds of people challenged the notion of powerlessness with their stories and actions. It strengthened existing personal relationships and founded others where there hadn’t been any before. What I learned and experienced at PowerShift over the course of three days motivated me like no other event had because I heard repeatedly from people about their lived experiences of success and ongoing battles around, for example, climate change impacts, environmental justice, Indigenous peoples-Settler-Canadian relations, and political advocacy. Voices were diverse, honest, largely belonging to youth, and they were hopeful.
PowerShift activated me where I had become dormant because it strove to break its isolation as a ‘weekend gathering’ and connect those in attendance to each other so relationships could form between people, across differences, and throughout the country. I am ecstatic that the regional PowerShifts such as PowerShift BC and PowerShift Atlantic will serve to provide grounding in different contexts, yet unite us so we can support each other in our similarities.
Momentum is gaining regionally, nationally, and globally because an anti-oppressive movement is a strong movement. I am looking forward to this transformational weekend, and I am looking beyond this weekend for the outcomes: unrelenting forces for change, continuous waves of action, and unified fronts against injustices, as unstoppable as our Atlantic tides.