sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
[personal profile] sonia
I went to Unite Oregon's No Ban No Wall rally in downtown Portland yesterday with a couple of friends.

There were (estimated) 1000 people there, gathered around a central low amphitheater in Terry Schrunk plaza. I was worried about feeling claustrophobically surrounded, but there was plenty of space. I was worried about getting in and out, but the 6 bus took us practically door to door, and wasn't unmanageably crowded.

I was convinced to go in part by Unite Oregon's statement about their leadership.
Led by people of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and people experiencing poverty, Unite Oregon works across the state to build a unified intercultural movement for justice.
These are the folks I want to listen to, learn from, and support.

The speakers were wonderful: educational, uplifting, supportive, and demanding we take action. A Muslim immigrant who has been here 10 years spoke of the fear he came from, and the fear he feels now. It's so great to have the executive director of an organization introduce herself as a woman of color, Muslim, and queer. An indigenous woman (couldn't hear her tribe affiliation) spoke about their traditions of making newcomers welcome and then sang a song about unity. I saw an indigenous man smudging and greeting the directions around the circle before the rally started.

One white dude went on and on about "blackness rolling across the nation, blackness this, blackness that." We shouted, "Say darkness! Call it evil!" Someone nearby gently interrupted him, and he sputtered to a halt. Later he took the mic again and said simply, "I apologize for my poor choice of words." The crowd cheered, and then we moved on. Well repaired!

Jeff Merkley (Democratic Senator from Oregon) sent an aide with a prepared speech about how he will stand up for us. Great speech, but I'd like it to be in present tense, not future tense. Gonna stand up for us? Now is good!

There was a sign near me that said in part, "Make America Think Again," and it was taped to a long clear ruler.

We saw one pickup with US and Trump flags flying. Didn't think much of it, but apparently the passenger was pointing a gun at the rally.

We stood for an hour. My back hurt by the end! Rallies require able bodies (or assistive devices). I have mixed feelings about going to more rallies myself. I'm glad they're happening. I like adding to the count of people there, connecting with other folks resisting, and feeling the support of the speeches. At the same time, I'm not convinced it's the best way for me personally to resist. Still thinking about that.

I guess my objection is that I'm not sure this deserves the Tikun Olam tag. It's definitely resistance, but did I make the world a better place, even incrementally, by attending?

Erik Loomis says Keep Protesting!
As I and many others have stated, if you ever wondered what you have done when Adolf Hitler took power in Germany or Francisco Franco in Spain or Augusto Pinochet in Chile, well now you know. You would do exactly what you are doing now. If that’s going into the streets, then great. If that’s complaining about protestors or whining about liberals or whining about the left, then that’s what you would have done in 1933, 1937, and 1973. Only you can stop Trump. So do it.
I suppose in that context, yes, attending rallies does incrementally make the world a better place, or at least tries to keep it from getting worse quite so fast.
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Sonia Connolly

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