Lessons Learned During Canadian Car Tour
(Minghui.org) I was a participant and a team leader during the latest Canadian Falun Dafa national car tour. This tour was meant to have a profound effect on raising awareness about illegal organ harvesting from living Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
The three-week car tour, divided into different participant groups, covered over 10,000 kilometers and passed through 32 counties. The participants met with 50 Members of Parliament (MP) and mayors, and over 50 media organizations came to the press conferences.
Most importantly, this tour helped participants understand the seriousness of Falun Dafa practitioners’ truth clarification efforts, as well as how to improve upon many of the facets of being part of a Dafa team.
I started to practice Falun Dafa in 1996 and immigrated to Canada from China in 2014. I only took on support tasks in Dafa projects during the past years, because I lacked the necessary language skills.
However, when the Dafa car tour was organized in the summer of 2016, the coordinator asked me to lead one of the teams passing through the Canadian prairies.
Many thoughts ran through my mind that would prevent me from participating, such as that there are many practitioners in Toronto, why me and why as a leader. There were others much more suitable to the task.
To overcome my reluctance, the coordinator arranged for me to take part in another group's car tour effort to learn the ropes.
To my surprise, it was totally different from the regular Dafa truth clarifying efforts. Besides, I felt no pressure because I believed not to be in charge.
Well, it turned out just the opposite. After we arrived at a city hall, we unfolded our banners. An official asked us what we were doing and who was in charge? None of the practitioners responded, so I blurted out that I was in charge.
After we returned to the hotel, I realized that when I was unwilling to take charge, I was selfish and was protecting myself from failure.
“You must take on your responsibility. You must go save sentient beings, so that you can consummate yourselves and this undertaking will not be in vain!” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
This Fa truth was a wake-up call. I let go of the excuses that kept going through my mind. I also began to consider what was good for the project, instead of what I was comfortable with, such as holding banners and collecting signatures.
On our return home and after some soul searching, I thought that the car tour would be a good cultivation experience. Thus, I called the coordinator and accepted to assume responsibility for a car team.
The coordinator was all for it and asked me to choose the members of my team. Three of us were recent immigrants from China and were not that proficient in English. The fourth member was a university student who had practiced Dafa for only one year. She would talk to the mayors, officials and the media. I felt some pressure as none of us had experience in talking to people.
We were assigned to tour the central part of Canada for three weeks. The day, before we went on tour, I asked the coordinator to assign another leader for the team. The problem was that not many practitioners could spare the three weeks needed for the tour. Besides, it was arranged and I just had to make the best of it.
We sent righteous thoughts, held banners, collected signatures, held a press conference, were interviewed by the media, and handed Dafa materials to councilors at city hall in the first town.
The young practitioner was very familiar with the materials but a little short on knowledge about the persecution because she had no first-hand experience. Thus, her presentation was somehow lackluster.
Practitioners outside China who have not experienced the persecution first-hand cannot visualize the extent of the persecution. Therefore, during the drive to the next town, three of us shared the persecution details we had experienced in China.
Then, we discussed our shortcomings. We came up with scenarios of how we could best and most effective bring the information to those who cannot visualize the extent of the persecution.
We decided not to jump immediately into the persecution facts, but start with basic facts about Dafa, when and why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution, and the severity of the persecution. Then, we could lead into the harvesting of organs for profit from living practitioners, followed by independent reports confirming the existence of such atrocities.
The young practitioner made notes while we were sharing experiences and improved on her presentations. With the success of our sharing, we decided to continue with this sharing method throughout our journey, whenever we found shortcomings.
Adjusting Presentation Technique
During activities in Toronto, the coordinators encouraged me to talk about the persecution I experienced in China. But, I noticed that the media reported about my persecution in great detail, but less about organ harvesting, and the suing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin who started the persecution.
Thus, we had the young practitioner talk about Dafa, the organ harvesting and lawsuits against Jiang. I only spoke of the persecution I experienced when it helped to make a point or when it helped to clarify an issue.
Initially, we talked a lot about the persecution and the organ harvesting. People were sympathetic, but said that they felt helpless. We thus decided to talk more about the criminal complaints against Jiang. Thus, people gained a better understanding of the issues.
Practitioners improved the presentation over time and perfected even minor details that elevated the listeners understanding.
When we cited David Kilgour and David Matas, we added the titles “well-known human rights lawyer and ex-MP” to emphasize their credibility.
When we were asking for support, we used the word “we,” and “let us work together to let our officials urge our government” to step up and tell the CCP to stop the persecution. We wanted to let the audience know that it was not somebody else's responsibility but rather that Canada as a major country in international society should state its position.
From Passive to Proactive
One of our goals was to have the media report on our events, but we had not figured out how to get them to attend our press conferences. After arriving at city hall at one of our destinations, we were ready for the press conference, but no media came.
An elderly lady approached us and asked what we were up to. We told her about Falun Dafa and the ongoing persecution of practitioners in China. She happened to work for a local newspaper, took us to her office and introduced us to the editor.
We were under the false impression that we needed an appointment to meet with the media. From the above incident, we learned that we needed to approach the media pro-actively.
Learning the Ropes Towards Success
Every time we met with the media, we wore Dafa t-shirts and yellow hats. After introducing ourselves, we talked about our cross-Canadian tour. We explained that we were five teams, would visit a total of 280 cities and towns, meet with mayors and other officials, and hold a press conference in front of each city hall.
This introduction helped people understand the magnitude of our activity and learn how it was related to them. We talked about Falun Dafa to everyone we met, whether they were a receptionist, journalist, or the director.
This strategy not only helped ordinary people hear about Falun Dafa, but also was instrumental in getting introductions to media and other influential people. We were able to meet up with at least three different media outlets in each city.
Cultivate Every Thought
All touring teams were asked to meet on the first weekend and share experiences. I used a tactic that I had used when managing people in China. In order for our team members to not become complacent, I told them that other teams had done as well as we had.
The next day, no journalists attended our press conference. I asked myself what had gone wrong? Then, I remembered that I had said that other teams had done as well as we did. Today, my words had come true. I shared my insight with my team members and they agreed that my statement had caused the problem.
I took back what I said the previous day and negated the interference. The problem was resolved and the media came to our press conferences in every subsequent town.
Something similar happened when it came to radio stations. We visited a local newspaper and radio station before we held the press conference. However, no one from the radio station came to cover our event.
Apparently, although I did not remember, I had said that the radio station was not as important as the newspaper. But, when we stopped at a radio station and two radio hosts met us, one of the hosts said that the radio station was not important and we should go to the local newspaper office. As we were leaving, I realized the wrongness of the remark and negated it immediately.
During the rest of the tour, we were interviewed by many radio stations and some even interviewed us on the air, providing us with the opportunity to clarify the truth to a larger audience. A radio station actually covers a large area, especially in central Canada, because it is sparsely populated.
Cooperation and Review Essential for Future Undertakings
After returning to our home base, I realized that Master did not want us to become complacent, but constantly improve. Therefore, we decided to review the entire undertaking, so we would not forget what is really important to the process.
During the tour I felt the constant protection and guidance by Master and also the power of practitioners’ cooperating as one body. Local practitioners at a number of locations had invited the mainstream media ahead of our arrival and they cooperated with us and coordinated for us during the event. Because of their support, we were able to see local media and officials without any trouble.
We distributed information materials to the media, mayors, and MPs. Toronto practitioners had provided us with such materials, which came in very handy.
The team members shared openly and sincerely throughout the entire trip. We tried to understand and cooperate with each other.
I was fortunate to have such an unforgettable experience. I feel all the more the importance of telling people about Falun Dafa, the persecution, organ harvesting, and saving sentient beings.
We came for the Fa. My only hope is that in the remaining time I will cultivate myself well, walk my cultivation path well, and fulfill my mission with the guidance and strengthening of Master.