Friday, September 20, 2019

Parade of Nations, Multicultural Festival to celebrate 30th anniversary Sept. 21

Representatives of many countries cross the Portage Lift Bridge during the Parade of Nations. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HOUGHTON -- Exotic international foods. Belly dancing and a Bollywood extravaganza. The Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival is almost here. This is the 30th anniversary of the annual celebration of diversity in the Keweenaw. 

The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 21, when the Parade of Nations marches from Hancock to Houghton across the Portage Lift Bridge.  The Cass Tech Marching Band from Detroit will strut its stuff, and the bumblebee-striped Michigan Tech Pep Band will give its usual wild performance. Floats representing the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Michigan Tech Indian Students’ Association, Chinese Students and Scholars and community groups will be interspersed with the bands, bagpipers, and students and community members in colorful native dress, carrying flags of more than 60 nations.

Parade Marshal is Darnishia Slade from Michigan Tech, longtime chair of the Parade of Nations. Tajah-Rayne Davise, winner of a high school essay contest on the meaning of multiculturalism, will ride in the parade.

Following the Parade, international food booths offer a variety of tasty specialties during the Multicultural Festival in Dee Stadium in Houghton. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

At noon, the Multicultural Festival begins at Dee Stadium. For just $5 to $8, you can get a full meal or choose from international tidbits at more than one dozen food booths. In the Kids Corner, children can paint boomerangs and make Chinese paper dragons and boo-boo bunnies.

The big stage will feature international entertainment including the Finnish Kivijat Dancers, an African Students’ Association performance, bellydancers from 41 North, and other performers. The float winners and the winner of the "I Love Parade of Nations" raffle will be announced during the show.

The Indian Students' Association performs a lively Bollywood number. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival is free and open to the public.  For more information, go to https://www.mtu.edu/international/events/parade-nations/   

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Keweenaw Climate March and Sail to join global action on climate change Sept. 20

Poster for Sept. 20 Keweenaw Climate March and Sail courtesy Keweenaw Youth for Climate Action.

HOUGHTON -- This Friday, Sept. 20, a group of local students and community members will join young people around the world in a global strike to push for action on climate change. Marchers will cross the Portage Lift Bridge at 4 p.m. and exhibit signs on the bridge from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. At about the same time, boaters in non-motorized water craft -- sailboats, sculling boats, canoes and kayaks -- will sail under the bridge in solidarity with this climate movement.

Marchers are asked to meet near the parking area under the bridge at 4 p.m. Friday. 

September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC (and a visit from Greta Thunberg), young people and adults will strike all across the US and world to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. In support of the Keweenaw Climate Strike and acknowledging Greta Thunburg's sail across the Atlantic to attend the UN Climate Summit, boaters are invited to join "Sail for the Environment" in the Portage Canal on September 20.*

Tentative details for boaters are as follows, pending weather:

4:45 p.m. - Skipper meeting by VHF Ch 68
5 p.m. - Boats will meet in front of the Houghton County Marina and circle around the canal
6 p.m. - Boats will dock at Houghton County Marina (limited number of free slips available) or depart for home berth.
6:30 p.m. - Dr. Sarah Green will speak a few words on the climate at the Houghton County Marina shelter building.

If you have an interest in being a skipper with your boat, please respond to CaptainBruce@SarahBelle.org as soon as possible.

Michigan Tech student John ("Jack") Wilson, one of the organizers of the Keweenaw event, said the global climate strike is led by young people fighting for their future.

"This is a youth led strike, because not only are youth disproportionately affected by climate change, but they are excluded from the electoral process which makes major decisions on this issue," Wilson said. "The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) suggests that we massively reduce our emissions by 2030, in order to avoid reaching the catastrophic implications of a rise of 2 degrees Celsius in global temperature. Even if every country stayed committed to the Paris Accord, we would still see a 3-degree increase by mid century."

Wilson called the youth-led strike necessary because previous efforts like petitions, letters to Senators or calling on governments to divest from fossil fuels have not worked and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

"Thus far, our societies' actions to address this crisis have been a catastrophic failure," Wilson added. "And so the question that should follow might be 'what do we do now?' To which our attention turns to the social sciences, and the social science says, 'If you want to rapidly change the political direction of a society, in the shortest amount of time, there’s one way to do it, and that way is mass participation in civil disobedience.' - Roger Hallam, PhD of Sociology at Kings College of London and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion."

Wilson noted the youth-led strike follows the example of previous non-violent civil disobedience movements for change.

"The civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, women's suffrage, the liberation of India -- all of these movements which transformed our society -- made their impacts by taking it to the streets," Wilson said. "We hope to follow in their footsteps to address the greatest challenge of our time. If Dr. King did it with one book about Ghandi and the Bible, I think we can do it with 30 years of climate science."

*Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist who has been raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change and speaking out against politicians' lack of action on the climate crisis.

From Wikipedia: "In August 2019, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, UK, to New York, US, in a 60 ft racing yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The trip was announced as a carbon neutral transatlantic crossing serving as a demonstration of Thunberg's declared beliefs of the importance of reducing emissions. The voyage lasted 15 days, from 14 to 28 August 2019. While in the Americas, Thunberg will be attending the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City and the COP 25 climate change conference in Santiago, Chile."

See this Sept. 17, 2019, article: "Greta Thunberg is leading kids and adults from 150 countries in a massive Friday climate strike."