Saturday was an incredible day. We have been working towards this day for many months. But it still felt pretty surreal, standing in Hyde Park, the Big IF G8 Rally *finally* happening.
About the author: Eilidh Macpherson is a campaigner working in London
Watch the highlights of the Big IF G8 Rally.
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It was last August that I went to my first Enough Food For Everyone … IF campaign meeting, and I remember feeling overwhelmed by the task in front of us.
I was a student in Edinburgh during Make Poverty History. I still remember being blown away by the scale of that day: the numbers of people that had travelled from all over the country, the atmosphere of ambition and solidarity, as well as the inspiring speakers.
Big protests and mobilisations are important times. They’re moments when the fight for global justice gets a brief mention on the front pages, when politicians of all parties see a manifestation of the huge public support for development, have the potential to have a huge impact on those involved. At events like Saturday, we stand in solidarity with those suffering from inequality in the food system, holding decision makers to account and demanding they act on our broken food system. Days like this also give first time campaigners like I was in Edinburgh a lifelong passion for holding placards and fighting for what they believe in, and veteran activists a chance to share their energy and ambition with others.
Saturday had so many memorable moments. A few that stood out were: watching a sea of campaigners from all over the country arrive with placards and homemade banners from Westminster Central Hall; seeing CAFOD’s loaves and fishes hats – everywhere; a panicky moment where by sister took a break from her face painting duties and I drew a few terrible fish on small children; David Harewood being brilliant on the main stage; and sitting in the sun talking to people who had turned up to play football or have picnics and stayed for the rally!
I’d been worried that the Big IF wouldn’t live up to the memories I had of Make Poverty History in Edinburgh. I shouldn’t have worried.
It’s the people involved that make these events special. It’s the campaigners that get on buses to travel to London, spreading the message before hand in their churches, schools and communities.
Days like this are also measured in their impact. Beyond any commitments we may get, (or don’t get), over the next week of important summits and negotiations, I’m confident that the energy and messages of the Big IF, will go on to inspire incredible results over the next months and years.