Firstly, I would like to thank the arrangers of the vigil tonight for Chris Skinner. It was beautiful and peaceful...and well maintained...I know that sounds all weird...but the police presence was just enough that we all felt safe and taken care of.
I met a couple dear friends early so that we could walk together...when we sat down to dinner I started to feel sick to my stomach....I got anxious and a bit scared...and I could not specifically figure out the why.
Ever since yesterday I couldn't get the image of Chris's broken glasses laying on the street out of my head...it played right at the end of a news reel. Of all the footage...even of him walking along the street oblivious to what was to occur...the broken glasses bothered me the most.
The lack of a person to go with them.
I have seen him in those glasses.
I didn't know what to expect as we walked to Church and Wellesley.
But when we got there...I just felt quiet....there were many people there.
Someone handed out candles...we ran into more people we knew...a fellow I knew drove from Stratford to be a part of it, lots of dear young people...and older people...with babies and dogs..basically people from every walk of life... there
to celebrate a life.
A man named Matt got on a mega phone and said a lovely speech and then he asked us to raise our candles...and look up to the sky...not down for a moment of silence... and then....my phone rang...of all the times during my shows I have yelled at people...I just fumbled...and cursed myself...and then...I realized it wasn't mine.
Then we began to walk...from Church and Wellesley to Adelaide and Victoria....the place where he was killed. I say it true...I don't want to soften it. His life was taken there.
The walk was something to behold.
It was at least 1200 people...walking down the southbound lanes of Church...the streets were lined with people just standing and watching...it was so still and quiet..every once in a while there would be a burst of laughter...and it felt right...and the young man I walked with asked me how I knew Skinner...and then we talked about the very small portion of his life that I was lucky enough to share...and it was shared during very festive situations...so it was heightened and funny and fabulous...and we also laughed...and I felt like part of him was there.
When the line made the turn at Queen Street we could begin to see the magnitude of the gathering...it was stunning. It made me cry.
And when we got to the corner...of Victoria and Adelaide...we all stopped and held our candles high...and had silence...and young woman stood on a newspaper box and hung this sign over the corner...
And everyone just stayed...just waited...and then we all filed to the corner and left our candle...and there was a big banner with pens and pencils to leave a message.
As I looked around there was a man standing by himself wrapped in a beautiful rainbow quilt...he took a deep breath and with the greatest reverence took it off and folded it neatly and put it into a bag...slung it over his shoulder and walked to the subway.
I wondered how many times he had done that.
Too many, my guess.
We will not tolerate hate or violence.
With peace, respect and love we walked tonight.