February 6, 2011

The World Social Forum Kicks Off with Historic March

Posted by Opal Tometi, BAJI National Organizer
February 6, 2011

The World Social Forum has officially begun! With a whirlwind of smaller events, meetings and orientations leading up to today’s (Sunday February 6, 2011) opening ceremony in Dakar, Senegal everyone seems to be energized for this week's historic gathering. 

Today, we marched through the streets of Dakar for about 3 hours, not including the time where people were able to listen to speeches. One of which was delivered by Bolivia’s celebrated President Evo Morales. There were people as far as the eye could see, and thousands of Senegalese participated throughout the day,  including those who served as volunteers helping to answer questions, and who worked as security to ensure that the day went smoothly.  It is estimated that well over 100,000 people participated in today’s march.
Along with our companer@s from Priority Africa Network, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and several other organizations we marched through the streets of Dakar chanting in solidarity and with much enthusiasm.

People waved banners and held signs representing movements from throughout the world and highlighting issues such as violence against women, police brutality, environmental justice and migrant rights, while other banners called into question the occupation of various lands, neocolonialism, economic exploitation, militarism and so much more. We saw and even befriended people from throughout the world - from Brazil to Palestine, Rwanda, Nigeria, Egypt and Japan! What seems most evident is that social movements around the globe are vibrant and people are working tirelessly toward social justice in every part of the world.

The march was just the beginning and we are hopeful that the sentiment of joy and justice, that permeated the air, will be one that carries us through the complex discussions, networking and strategizing that are sure to fill the week.

You can see some pictures from our day at the march on the our Flickr page.

Check out the program here to see the range of plenaries and workshops that will take place this week.

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