Sat, October 14, 2006<=
Local goths join charity walk
By CARY CASTAGNA, Staff Writer
In an effort to help polish their public image, more than a dozen local goths pounded the pavement Saturday afternoon to raise money for sick kids.
The goths, some clad in black trenchcoats, joined an annual fundraising walk organized by the Children’s Wish Foundation
“We’re not gun-toters. We are and always will be peaceful people,” explained Edmonton goth Adam Wolbaum, 24.
“We’re artists, thespians, writers – we’re not killers.”
Their participation in the event, which they’ve titled “Goths For Kids,” was meant to counter recent negative publicity the subculture has received, Wolbaum explained.
The goth lifestyle has taken some heavy image damage lately. The most recent blow came on Sept. 13 when VampireFreaks.com member Kimveer Gill, 25, walked into Montreal’s Dawson College and opened fire – killing one student and wounding 19 before taking his own life.
Goths and patrons of the VampireFreaks.com website are upset that they’re being stereotyped as crazed killers thanks to Gill, as well as the 12-year-old goth girl and 23-year-old man who are accused of a triple homicide in Medicine Hat.
“The basis of this subculture is creativity. It’s a place for people to express themselves, a place for those people to come and be themselves unabashedly,” said Wolbaum, a U of A English major who helped raise $175 for the march that kicked off from Castledowns YMCA at 11510 153 Ave.
Marianne Hang, a Calgary goth who pledged $100 to the foundation, said the event helped show the subculture can co-exist with everyone peacefully.
“We did make a positive impression,” added Hang, 45.
Josh Blank, a 19-year-old goth from Morinville, said the group has been dogged by a negative image since the Columbine massacre in 1999.
“We’re not as bad and evil as some people believe,” he said. “We all do the same thing. We just dress differently.”
Natasha Taylor of the Children’s Wish Foundation in Edmonton said the goths were joined about 50 other community members on the walk – including city cops. She said the black-clad goths were welcomed with open arms.
“We don’t discriminate against anyone wanting to celebrate with us,” she said. “We’re glad they came out.”
Fundraising totals had yet to be tallied, but the walk was expected to raise at least $20,000, Taylor said.
Similar walks in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation took place across Canada. Goths nationwide participated.