Students are often stereotyped as the rebellious young adults who protest like crazy in search of anything to overturn. Unfortunately, this sometimes takes away from the message students are trying to send, as people learn to ignore the groups of youngsters picketing with massive, red signs. Once in a while, however, one comes across a unique assembly of social activists who may seem insignificant in number (in comparison with the herds of students people grow accustomed to), though they can be extremely effective in gaining attention through their originality and creativity. This is certainly the case of a one of a kind, non-profit organization, The Raging Grannies.
The Raging Grannies is an international endeavor (rooted in Canada) through which elderly women express their concerns regarding peace, equality, justice, and the environment, aiming to share their non-violent rage with others. Passed demonstrations include taking a stance against oil transportation by train, the development of the oil pipeline, and simply raising awareness about political decisions being made by the federal government that have potential major effects on certain parts of the community. Their costumes are nothing short of eye-catching; they dress in colorful dresses or skirts with a good ol’ shawl, mostly with uncoordinated color combinations. A signature piece of theirs is the ever-present flowery hat, quickly becoming an unofficial trademark of the Grannies. Their attire and their ages are not the only unique aspects of their protests; they get their messages across through song, changing lyrics according to the cause they are defending (or refuting).
Most recently, The Raging Grannies of Montreal have taken on the task of educating the population about the importance of taking part in Canada’s democratic system, encouraging eligible voters to exercise their freedom of choice. This autumn, the Grannies can be found across the island, especially near college and university campuses, chatting up students and passers-by, teaching people that every vote counts. On Wednesday, September 9th, the Raging Grannies made a deal with students from downtown Montreal; those who promised to vote in the upcoming federal election were allowed to take a selfie with a Granny to share with their entourage. The group will be on campus here at Vanier College on September 23rd, during Universal Break. This fall, the group aims to heighten the number of students casting an educated vote when Election Day comes around on October 19th, 2015.
It isn’t always easy, especially for busy students, to figure out where their political beliefs lie. In order to help orient voters, CBC has developed the Vote Compass, allowing people to anonymously answer a questionnaire online that instantaneously situates them on the political scale, showing users where they stand in relation to the different parties’ platforms. This can be a great place to make one’s first steps towards becoming an informed voter. Student’s spend enough time procrastinating online, might as well use that time wisely!
Written By: Katherine Willcocks
Originally Published: September 2015