Supporters of an Emily Carr University professor incarcerated at the Alouette Correctional Centre for women gathered outside the institution Sunday afternoon.
Around 29 people turned out to drum and sing songs of support for Rita Wong who was sentenced to 28 days in jail following her arrest on Aug. 24 at a protest on Burnaby Mountain against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
She was sentenced to the 28 days in jail on Aug. 16 after an arrest at another protest against the pipeline.
“We’re here to support all the women in here,” said Stacy Gallagher, with the Mountain Protectors, who describe themselves as a collective of protectors that are surveilling and monitoring Kinder Morgan’s construction activities at Burnaby Terminal. Gallagher says the group has been on Burnaby Mountain for more than a year.
“For those that get arrested for following the natural laws, we’re here to support them,” continued Gallagher.
“We’re just supporting of the young lady who felt it in her heart as she has indicated she listens to her ancestors who guide her to do these things.”
“A lot of people are waiting their lives for other people to do these things. They say they wait for the ancestors. We’re the ancestors. We’re the ones to do this work,” Gallagher said, noting that the group is harmonious and the songs that they sing are prayers.
Wong is an associate professor in the Critical and Cultural Studies department at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and is the author of four books of poetry, one the winner of the 2008 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Canada Reads Poetry 2011.
She is currently researching the poetics of water, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Wong’s supporters expect her to be released on Sept. 3.