The peaceful Rob Ford Must Go! permanent rotating citizens' sit-in takes place directly in front of Rob Ford's office at Toronto City Hall.
The sit-in is kept going by many different ordinary Toronto citizens and residents. We're all regular people with responsibilities, family obligations, and workloads. We each participate to the extent that we're able to.
No one person is there all the time - but there's always at least one person there.
The sit-in is active every weekday from 8:30 am until 9 pm. The sit-in is also active on weekends and most holidays from 10 am to 6 pm. Basically if City Hall is open, the sit-in is there.
The sit-in will remain until Rob Ford is no longer Mayor of Toronto. Given the extraordinary volatility, unpredictability, and pure surreality of Ford's term so far, that could mean the sit-in extends until the election this October... or ends tomorrow. There's genuinely no way to know. Every day brings a new set of circumstances and experiences.
Everyone is welcome to join the sit-in! It belongs to all citizens of Toronto.
We welcome people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all political affiliations, nationalities, creeds, races, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, and cultures. This is Toronto! Diversity is our strength!
Come and sit-in for a few minutes or a few hours - any time you're able to spare is meaningful and most valued!
"Why should I do this? What are you guys doing there? Looks like you're just sitting around talking!"
It's impossible to accurately convey what it's like to participate in the sit-in if you haven't been there. Every day an enormous amount of new experiences and interactions take place. The situation is constantly shifting, evolving, fluid.
Over the initial days that we've been there, participants have broadly speaking found that the sit-in serves several vital purposes simultaneously. To wit -
1 - the sit-in creates and sustains a place directly outside of Rob Ford's office that is the complete opposite of Ford; where he lies constantly, the sit-in is scrupulously honest; where Ford is hateful, the sit-in is loving; where Ford is angry and seeks to create division and mistrust, the sit-in is calm and constantly works to create unity and trust and meaningful connection between all its participants. Ford speaks in garbled lie-saturated soundbites; the sit-in provides an opportunity for Toronto citizens and residents to have very long, involved, complex, revelatory discussions about all manner of subjects of vital importance to the city. Ford targets vulnerable groups (eg: the LGBT community) in order to rally his dwindling base around hating "the other"; the sit-in welcomes everyone, from all walks of life, embracing Toronto's official motto - "diversity is our strength". To wit - symbolically and practically, the sit-in represents the best of Toronto. It's everything that Ford isn't. It's a direct manifestation of the city we want to live in - Toronto the Good.
2 - the sit-in provides a place for people who've been shell-shocked and appalled by the unprecedentedly wretched behaviour of Rob Ford and his brother Doug to share their frustration and anger and sadness and horror with fellow citizens who really, really "get it". It's a very warm, open, healing environment, and it really helps participants to work through their various forms of Ford-related suffering and outrage in a positive and constructive manner, leaving us feeling empowered and energized. Sit-in participants keep coming back over and over - many remark that they just can't get enough of it.
3 - the sit-in provides a genuinely civic space - a non-commercial, advertising and marketing-free environment where participants can directly experience the fact that City Hall is a public space that belongs to all of us. Symbolically and practically, we're taking it back from Rob and Doug Ford. And in this civic space we're claiming our rights and gaining a deeper understanding of our responsibilities as citizens; and having extended discussions about how Ford came to be, how to get him out of office ASAP, and how to ensure nobody like him is ever able to rise to any level of prominence in Toronto politics ever again.
4 - the sit-in is right in front of Rob Ford, all day, every day. He and his staffers see it constantly as they come and go from the office. It provides a constant reminder to him that he has no right to be there and that regular people of Toronto are deeply determined to get him out of office ASAP.
5 - the sit-in is in full view of the constant media presence in front of Ford's office. Participants have been interviewed multiple times by local and national media outlets. The media visibility of the sit-in sends a constant message to the rest of the country and world that Toronto does not accept Rob Ford's grotesque misconduct and that ordinary citizens are now coming together to do everything they can to get him out of office.
6 - the sit-in provides a steady, positive, calming influence "on the ground" in what has become an extremely toxic and unstable environment, helping to reverse the horrible impact that Fords have had on the morale of people working at City Hall.
7 - the sit-in provides a place where total strangers can meet and immediately feel that they're at home and among friends; enormously strong positive bonds are being forged between participants, strengthening everyone's ability and determination to get Toronto back on an inspiring and uplifting course.
8 - the sit-in provides an environment in which extremely knowledgeable people can work out plans, strategies, and tactics to permanently defeat Rob Ford, Doug Ford, and anyone who ever attempts to emulate their vileness in future.
9 - the sit-in provides incredible motivation and support to its participants, who leave feeling hugely strengthened and empowered and who return again and again.
10 - the sit-in provides a model for generating sustainable long-term civic engagement for ordinary citizens - its dynamics and structure and the kinds of intensely positive interactions it encourages can be replicated across the entire city, helping to bridge the divides created by amalgamation and fostering a genuine ground-level feeling of unity between all Torontonians.