Raise the Bar – Coming Out

Last night was Guelph’s Take Back the Night march, which I was happily involved in.  It was a wonderful experience.  The energy of the crowd, the positive vibes all around, the support from the streets – it was all a delight!  What I want to really mention though is that Raise the Bar was officially announced last night.  Hooray!

Before that – a side note.  The performance poet Truth Is spoke and delivered some of the most compelling, brilliant poetry I have heard in a long time.  I first heard Truth Is at the Angela Davis talk at the University of Guelph last year and my goodness, she was phenomenal!  I occasionally teach poetry and one thing that I have found very useful in terms of teaching poetry is showing how it is a living tradition.  People get bogged down in Donne, Whitman, Shakespeare.  When I brought to them living performance poets who speak to the experience of today – Katie Makkai, dbi young, and others – suddenly the students saw that they could be a part of this world of words.  I really have to learn more about Truth Is.

Anyhow, right, back to the Raise the Bar campaign!

Last night, Cindy McMann spoke and officially outed our little group.  We are working to end the culture of sexual predation, harassment, and violence around us by starting in our back yards – downtown Guelph.  The key to this is bystander intervention.  We have to make sure that everyone recognizes that sexual violence of any sort is unacceptable.

So we are launching a two part campaign – education in downtown establishments and a public education blitz.  Working with our community partners, we are putting together both wings of the campaign and we hope that we will have your support.

We haven’t quite started the website up yet and we are still building content for the public education blitz, but we are now official.  We’re out there.  We’re Raise the Bar… and you can help.

If you are interested in getting involved with Raise the Bar or you want to learn more about our initiative, please let me know.  andrew.bretz AT gmail DOT com

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