The Week — Oct. 13

Get excited: it’s election time — but please, save the masturbation — radical visitors abound, mental health awareness goes blue

While UVic is trying to get people excited for the election, it looks like they have more enthusiasm than they bargained for in other campus matters.

Get excited: it’s election time

When it comes to leaping head first into the thrills of municipal elections, we all know Victoria isn’t famous for its voter fervor. Still, with a little luck, some people are trying to change that.

Cue UVic’s Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy Michael J. Prince who will be part of an expert panel on Oct. 15 regarding the upcoming municipal election.

The community public forum, titled “The Future is Local: Make Your Vote Count Now!” takes place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Michele Pujol room of UVic’s Student Union Building. The event is sponsored by the Saanich Civic League, a non-profit organization formed in 2008 in response to the low voter turnout in the municipality’s 2005 civic election. Saanich voter turnout was the fifth lowest in B.C. that year, at 19 per cent.

“I will be outlining the importance of the municipal government to communities and the value of civic involvement in building strong neighbourhoods,” says Prince, an award-winning scholar and community leader in the area of governance, social policy and civic engagement.

Here’s hoping his words inspire the remaining 81 per cent to come out and have a voice.

For more information visit saanichcivicleague.ca.

Expect a radical day

With Oct. 15 marking the day of world-wide solidarity with the Occupy Together Movement, it’s little coincidence that infamous anti-authoritarian activist Chris Dixon is coming to town to share a few tips from his days on the trail.

Dixon, a longtime activist, writer and educator who recently received his PhD from the University of California, was a core organizer for the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle 1999, and knows a thing or two about staging mass demonstrations.

Dixon, who resides in Sudbury, Ont., is coming to Victoria to give his talk “Reinventing Radicalism: Contemporary Anti-Authoritarian Activism in North America” this Thursday, Oct. 13, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at UVic’s David Strong Building, C128.

“Justice is coming” according to the tagline in Dixon’s talk. He is currently completing a book based on interviews with anti-authoritarian organizers across the U.S. and Canada, and is an active member of the board of the Institute for Anarchist Studies and the advisory board for the journal Upping the Anti.

Speaking of mental health

While it’s easy to overlook with all the other hubbub around the city this time of year, this past week marked Mental Illness Awareness Week in Canada.

In part celebration, part personal initiative, Laurel Hounslow, a Vancouver Island woman, has committed to dye her hair from grey to blue in an effort to raise funds and awareness for mental illness and suicide prevention. She plans on keeping her blue ’do for the “Going Blue 4 U campaign” — until she earns her goal of $4,000. For every $1,000 she snags, she and Calgary teammate Lee Horbachewski will dye a chunk of their hair blue. So far, Hounslow is one chunk in.

“When my daughter suffered postpartum depression it was devastating for all of us, especially for her and her husband,” says Hounslow. “Before that, many mental health issues had escaped my notice. Now I’m raising awareness . . . and hope to raise some money for the cause on the way.”

Hounslow got the idea from her daughter, who also lives in Victoria, who committed to dyeing her hair  for a similar cause in September. Find out more at timeandchance.ca/2011/09/going-blue-4-u. M

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