SOS RescueWalkers Visit Four Universities On the Way from St. Catharine's to Toronto
A short SOS rescue walk was held in Ontario, Canada from St. Catharine's to Toronto. The starting point was from Brock University and the walk concluded at Ryerson University in Toronto. About a dozen media covered the walk and at least five support letters or letters to the Prime Minister were written by MPs, Mayors and University Student Unions.
Canadian University student Christine Loftus
Because of the great success the SOS walks have had all over the world, one student at Brock University decided to use this method in order to let more students know about the persecution against Falun Dafa in China. Since other practitioners were very busy with other truth clarifying activities, she had to organize most of it herself. This was a test for this practitioner because she was rather shy, didn't know how to get from St. Catharine's to Toronto and had never organized such an event on her own. However, she knew that as a practitioner at this time, it is important to take your own initiative. She also thought of another practitioner that had traveled from Canada to Europe all by herself to do an SOS walk across Europe on her own. This practitioner was not afraid of anything, which truly inspired this student. So, a lot of the planning and preparations were done by this and one other student.
The starting point was from Brock
University because the Brock University Students' Union (BUSU) wrote a very supportive letter for the practitioners in China. In this letter, BUSU was calling on other schools to join with them and make their voice to China stronger. The letter was then carried during the walk to McMaster University in Hamilton, and then it made its way to the Universities of Toronto and Ryerson in downtown Toronto. Thus it became a symbolic walk of all schools joining together. The letter will also be mailed to other schools that were not included in the walk.
Other practitioners joined in the walk as well, including students from McMaster, U of T and a professor from U of T. Many touching things happened along the way, and we would now like to share some of them with you.
-When the office of the MP in St. Catharine's was contacted to ask if he could write a support letter for the walk, his assistant told us that he was in Ottawa so it may be difficult because the walk was starting in just a few days. Somehow though, we received a beautifully written, personally signed letter from this MP on the day of the walk.
-One morning during the walk, the walkers stopped at a car dealership to see if they had a pay phone because they had to call into a radio show that morning. They didn't have a pay phone, but let the walkers sit inside in order to get away from the noisy road while on the phone with the radio station. In addition, they also kindly offered a beverage and the use of their bathroom before leaving. We kindly thanked them but told them that we didn't need a drink. They were very impressed by our walkers.
-The driver for the walkers was stopping by all of the Mayor's offices along the way in order to drop off information packages. One Mayor was truly touched by the walk. He immediately sat down and began to write a letter to the Prime Minister to express his concern. Later that night, when it was dark, cold and a little rainy, the walkers saw a truck pull up on the road across the street from them. A man jumped out in a suit with a Falun Dafa pin on his jacket. He asked which student started this walk and then came over and shook her hand. He was very proud of all of the walkers.
He gave them directions for how to get to the Mayor's office in the next town and told them that he had received propaganda from the Chinese Consulate. He later sent the propaganda package to the walkers so that it could be used as evidence against the Chinese Government.
-A kind priest gave directions on how to get to McMaster University. He tried to give the walkers $20 for their great effort. The walkers refused the money but he tried to stick it into the petition board anyway. The walkers stopped him and asked him if he would like to sign their petition instead. He gladly signed.
-On the first day of the walk a fairly new practitioner joined in order to show her support. By dinner time that day, the walkers realized that they would have to walk well into the evening in order to cover enough distance that day, or they would fall behind schedule. She was the first to speak up and say, "Lets do it. I'm game!" She was sweaty and tired, but her determination inspired the other walkers.
-When the walkers reached McMaster University, the student President was so touched by the letter from the Brock University Student Union that he immediately began to write his own letter of support. When the walkers reached the University of Toronto, the Student Union President and Vice President welcomed them with open arms. They assured the walkers that they would continue to do everything they could in order to help the practitioners in China. The last stop was Ryerson University. When the walkers arrived they had trouble finding the room they were told to go to. Eventually they found their way. They rushed into the room to find it full of smiling people. The School media was there and the President of the Student Union. In addition, the Vice President of the entire school was there to show his support. He said that Nelson Mandela was going to be visiting their school the following week so he wanted to come and recognize the walk to their University because it was so peaceful.
A group photo with the President of the Student Union and the Vice President of Ryerson University
-The final day of the walk went through Chinatown in Toronto. This was an extremely solemn experience for the walkers. The Brock student walker carried a sign that read, "I walked over 150 km in order to tell you, 'Falun Gong is Good'" in Chinese. Many Chinese people stared at the sign for a long time as she walked by. This brought tears to the students' eyes.
Christine and supporters walking through the Central Chinatown in Toronto