By Tenzin Yangchen, Boston
Tibetans in Boston taking part in the annual HONK Festival, calling China to respect the rights of Tibetan nomads.
On Sunday October 2nd, 2011 the Tibetan Association of Boston (TAB) and Tibet supporters participated in the 6th annual Honk Festival parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square, Cambridge MA in collaboration with Amnesty International.
Last year, TAB and Amnesty International had collaborated and participated in the 5th annual Honk Festival.
The Honk Festival was established six years ago after a growing need of creative street bands to assemble and celebrate their social activism. Today, HONK and its street-wise music have become the agent of change and a calling for people to join the movement.
Rights groups like Amnesty International have highlighted the case of Aung San Suu Kyi and Dhondup Wangchen in previous years during the Honk Festival.
Along with many diverse bands from all over the country and abroad, TAB community members and supporters marched in this year’s HONK Festival parade, celebrating Tibetan culture and highlighting the ‘Tibetan Nomad Rights’ campaign.
Children handed out flyers and got the public to sign petitions demanding the release the XIthe Panchen Lama and other political prisoners. The Tibetan marchers, like last year, were greeted with cheers, claps and shouts of "Free Tibet".
Today, the Chinese government is forcibly displacing Tibetan Nomads from the grasslands and resettling them into ghetto-style housing blocks in the name of environmental preservation and economic development. This is leading to myriad social, economic, and environmental issues that TAB highlighted during the Honk Parade.
Tibetans and supporters marched the parade with their traditional clothing and a big banner stating – "China: Stop Forcing Tibetan Nomads off their Land."
Parents from TAB's Sunday School program also joined the parade while children performed Tashi Shoelpa dance. Dancers also performed Yak Dance, drawing attention from passersby and the thousands who participated in the parade from Davis to Harvard Square.
Seeing colourful Tibetan flags with a huge banner of Nomad Rights in the midst of the crowd in Harvard Square was not only beautiful but also inspiring.