Check it out: Taking a seat for Viola Desmond

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights highlights the importance of remembering past fights for civil rights.
violachair

Sometimes taking a seat is the same as taking a stand.

That’s the message in a new video from the Canadian Museum For Human Rights, celebrating the life of Viola Desmond and promoting a new exhibit detailing her role in the civil rights movement.

In 1946, Desmond challenged racial segregation in Nova Scotia by refusing to leave her seat in a whites-only area of a movie theatre. Desmond was arrested and charged for the act, resulting in a case that is frequently cited as helping to kick-start the civil rights movement in Canada.

Created by agency Arrivals + Departures, the video shows an empty theatre chair in numerous environments across Canada, eventually filled by people representing a diverse population, showing how moments of resistance can have an effect beyond the place where they happen. The video also uses a voiceover from Wanda Robson, an activist and Viola Desmond’s sister, explaining the importance of remembering struggles of the past, so that Canadians might be reminded of the ways in which they can continue to change injustices in society.

The chair featured in the video is a shade of purple similar to that used in Canada’s $10 bill, which Desmond began appearing on last year. The other side of the banknote features an image of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, which has launched an exhibition detailing Desmond’s life and the ways in which she contributed to the discussion about civil rights in Canada.