Standing Up For Science

On April 22, 2017, I hit the streets of Vancouver to participate in the March For Science. This march was only one of many taking place around the world which included concerned scientists, researchers and citizens. The de-funding and muzzling of scientists is a global problem and affects all of us, whether we realize it or not. Science is not only what keeps us alive as a species but also keeps us moving forward.

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I created my march sign to reflect my personal stake in medical science. I’ve had incredible opportunities to meet and engage with MS researchers over the last 3 years and it’s led to a deeper understanding of the work they do and the fierce commitment they have to improving the human condition. I have also had the opportunity to hear from NMO researchers and clinicians from around the world about the progress they are making in understanding NMO and the clinical trials that are currently in progress. All of this fuels my passion for advocacy and awareness for both NMO and MS and was why I was out there pounding the pavement along with 2000 others on a Saturday morning in April. It was a perfect opportunity to raise awareness on so many levels.

My friend Lori, who is a nurse, very kindly knit me a brain hat to wear to the march and she did a fantastic job. So many people at the march asked me where I’d got it.

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We walked (I’m guessing) about 3 km on the traditional, unceded territories of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam Nations, from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to Science World at Creekside Park. I was pretty ill that day with a fever (I didn’t know until a few days later I had a bacterial chest infection) so a good portion of that walk was a blur to me. I do remember thinking was a privilege it was to be walking peacefully in my city and standing up for the things I believe in. The Vancouver Police Department was there, very kindly stopping traffic so we could march safely.

I also remember thinking of one of my favourite quotes by Rumi that says “There is a community of the spirit. Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street and being the noise.” It felt empowering to be a part of this community; marching in solidarity and knowing that the same thing was happening in countries all over the world on the same day-there were even a handful of scientists in Antarctica who held their own march!

My favourite part was reading all the signs people had made. My friend Tam had even held a sign making party at her store. This was one of the signs I recognized from her photos of the event:

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The Vancouver Aquarium group had these very cool jelly fish umbrellas they were carrying:

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When we got to Science world, my friend Julie found me in the crowd and we hung out listening to the speakers and entertainers for a bit before I had to head home to bed. Here’s a shot of her awesome socks:

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I am glad I went and would do it again in a heartbeat. (Though preferably not while feeling like death warmed over!)

16
May 2017
POSTED BY Lelainia Lloyd
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