After being suspended as a crossing guard for appearing in a Born Ruffians video wearing her uniform, Kathleen Byers quit her position last week. However dozens of people joined together Sunday afternoon to protest the decision to have the popular crossing guard axed.
CTV News reports hundreds took to the street for a "dancing protest" around Dufferin Street in Toronto to show Byers their support. Songs such as ABBA's "Dancing Queen" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" could be heard while conga lines formed. The Toronto Star reports the protest took place opposite the Grove Community School.
Byers, who attended the event Sunday, was grateful for the support. "When I come to work every single time, I'm so filled with joy I just can't keep my feet still," she told CTV. "We really need to think about children and teach children they shouldn't be afraid to be themselves, live their truth, be creative and not live in fear that you can't shine or show yourself."
Vanessa Dunn, organizer of the event and singer for Toronto group Vag Halen, said she felt the need to do something after hearing what happened to Byers. "I think everybody here clearly felt enraged and embarrassed for the city when this happened to Kathleen," Dunn told the crowd yesterday. "Kathleen is a community hero and today we're doing a community action that is both making a point and is fun -- which is clearly against the law in some way."
Dunn later posted her thoughts via Facebook following the protest. "Regardless of what Kathleen decides to do regarding her situation, I am in awe and encouraged by the amount of bodies and hearts that were there today (and those who couldn't be but sent their encouragement)," Dunn wrote. "Simply put: community matters." A video of the protest is also reportedly in the works and is expected to be out in the coming days.
Toronto City Councillor Ana Bailao who represents the area has written to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair regarding the decision, adding it was an "injustice" to suspend Byers for appearing in the Born Ruffians video for "Oh Cecilia." "We have a community member, she's not only a crossing guard, she knows the names of most children that cross the street, she knows the parents, she knows this community."
Born Ruffians, who attended the protest, took to Twitter to comment on what transpired:
Just left the crosswalk dance party for Kathleen. Heart is warmed. Huge credit to @VAGHALEN for doing an incredible job organizing it.— Born Ruffians (@BornRuffians) May 18, 2014
Dancing in the street. Crazy amount of support for Kathleen today. http://t.co/CPZbclDLaA— Born Ruffians (@BornRuffians) May 18, 2014
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