An Evening with GUTS
Sunday, September 16, 200711 Comments
GUTS is a grassroots anti-poverty group that has been active in Guelph for four years. They were raising money & support for their varied community services, including; free weekly picnics, tenant and human rights casework, harm reduction initiatives, a Ã«know your rightsÃ campaign, and Ontario Common Fronts Raise the Rates campaign.
The Salsateria quickly filled up with around 70 supporters. Many of the attendees have joined forces with GUTS through their services, events, or political ideals. HÃˆlÃ‹ne Munk, a international development student, spoke about the weekly suppers offered at five oÃclock every Sunday on the corner of Wyndham and MacDonnell; Ã¬[At dinners] I like the fact that we serve ourselves, it breaks down boundaries between people of different economic backgrounds.Ã® She has been a volunteer previously with GUTS and says it is easy to get involved due to a lack of hierarchy.
Another supporter identifies with GUTS anti-police work, saying; Ã¬GUTS is advancing a fundamental critique of the legitimacy of the police force, who they recognize, does more to maintain an oppressive status quo by fear and brute force, than to actually make our lives safer.Ã®
The benefit show began with Fellow Worker whose music is preformed with the intent to inspire organizing around issues of poverty and workers rights. She was happy to play at the fundraiser, noting that; Ã¬These volunteers work out of love and solidarity, these things are in line with the music I playÃ–I am paid in the energy I get back from the people here.Ã®
Fellow Worker was followed by Joey Only, a self described outlaw folk singer based in Vancouver. He highlighted diverse subjects, including the Olympics in 2010 and the killing of Dudley George in Ipperwash Provincial Park (1995). After Joey Only, a band created specifically for the fundraiser, called Rebel Girl, played turn of the 20th century pro-union and human rights songs. The audience members were encouraged to sing along with lyrics printed in red songbooks.
The final act of the night was Ill-Logik, a political hip-hop artist from Toronto who was happy to support a group engaged in resistance and community building. Once the live performers had finished DJÃs kept people dancing till closing time.
In the upcoming months GUTS is working on a campaign to keep tasers out of the hands of the Guelph Police force. They are also organizing panel discussions on tasers and harm reduction in prisons. A spokesperson, enthusiastic about the community turn out for the event, invited people interested in volunteering to contact GUTS and/or attend their biweekly meetings.