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Toronto-Based Activist and “Community Choreographer” to Deliver Carleton Convocation

January 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm
By Alex Korsunsky '12

Journalist and grassroots activist David Meslin will deliver Carleton College’s convocation address on Friday, Jan. 13. Meslin’s presentation, entitled “Under the Surface: The Unlimited Potential of Community Organizing,” chronicles his passion for involvement in civic affairs, demonstrating what can be accomplished through dedicated, imaginative, and hard-working advocacy. Carleton convocation is held from 10:50-11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel, and is free and open to the public.

A self-described “community choreographer,” Meslin’s activism began with guerrilla street action, such as painting bike lanes onto roads and altering billboards. In 1998, he organized the first “Reclaim the Streets” demonstration in Toronto, in which hundreds danced in the streets without a permit. Watching the police shut down the party and arrest many of the dancers motivated him to seek new ways to organize, leading him to form the Toronto Public Space Committee, which rallied volunteers to fight against the growing commercialization of public space; within five years, the Committee became one of the most effective unfunded non-profits in Toronto. In 2006 Meslin began his next project coordinating “Who Runs This Town?,” a campaign aimed at injecting fun and creativity into Toronto’s municipal elections through events such as a “City Idol” at which alienated citizens were encouraged to explore and share political ideas by competing for a spot on City Council in front of a live audience.

Meslin was chosen as one of the Top Ten Activists of the Year by NOW Magazine in 2000. He has participated in the prestigious TEDTalks series with a lecture entitled “Redefining Apathy,” and has become well known within the activist community for the energy, creativity, and humor with which he seeks to increase political involvement and improve life for everyone in the community. Meslin, known as “Mez” since high school, maintains a blog at

For more information or disability accommodations, contact The Carleton College Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street, between College and Winona Streets in Northfield.