In brief: The Jane’s Walk Steering Committee supports any City Organizer’s decision to postpone or cancel their 2020 Jane’s Walk Festival. It is imperative that we don’t physically gather or walk together in May. Beyond that, whatever choice you make is the right decision.
From the Jane’s Walk Steering Committee
The Jane’s Walk Steering Committee met March 16 to discuss a response to COVID-19.
Taking into account a rapidly evolving set of global circumstances that is affecting each city differently, we are encouraging City Organizers to make decisions about their local festivals that prioritize the health, safety, and wellbeing of their communities. For some, that may mean cancelling this year’s festival. For others, that may mean postponement. For yet others, it may mean getting creative – taking the essence of Jane’s Walk and finding ways for that essence to live through channels that maintain physical distance! We believe it is most important to not physically gather or walk together in May.
We appreciate how much volunteer time is required to run Jane’s Walks and also know how much joy is shared as a result of this movement. The current pandemic calls us to organize in new ways. As a global community, we must focus first on keeping ourselves and each other safe and healthy.
We have been inspired by communities around the world who have found creative ways to celebrate their cities together in this difficult time. Italians and Spaniards singing across balconies, neighbours supporting neighbours, volunteer-led online groups organizing to help vulnerable populations access food and essential services. The spirit of local organizing, local engagement and local expertise is alive and well.
By way of example, here in Toronto, our City Organizers have chosen to re-imagine Jane’s Walks for 2020. They will be organizing a Festival that honours the principles of Jane Jacobs without the physical walks.
We encourage all City Organizers and Walk Leaders to explore ways of strengthening connections, learning and sharing knowledge about their communities, while meeting our core responsibility to keep each other safe and healthy. Think about activities online and analog that can highlight the community spirit we feel coursing around the globe. Share them back with us through the Jane’s Walk story submission process. As stated above, we also support the decision to postpone or cancel your city’s festival. These are not easy choices for anyone.
While we reinforce the call for physical distancing, we reject and will actively organize against social isolation. The Jane’s Walk Steering Committee is grateful for all of the energy and commitment of the global community and support all endeavours to reimagine Jane’s Walks in 2020.