Sunday, October 3, 2010

Went 2 the mall

I joined tens of thousands of union workers, students, and people of color marching on Washington DC yesterday. As part of the (marginalized) peace contingent, nearly invisible in the mainstream press coverage and not invited to the podium, we were loud and proud anyway. Interestingly, someone who listened to every speech reported that all but two speakers on the need for jobs and economic recovery mentioned -- yup, the wars. Maybe they were afraid of looking like idiots by ignoring the big fat war spending elephant in the recession room.

It was an exciting day for Mark and I as we witnessed and participated in the launch of Codepink's version of the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. It has been so successful in Maine that many groups have taken it up as the right message at the right time, but the energy that my sisters and brothers in pink brought to it was especially amazing.

Check out the new T-shirts which everyone seemed to want. Most sizes were gone quickly (sorry, Bruce) but the vibrant stickers created for the launch were everywhere. One of the "Fund schools, not bombs" stickers was worn by a man who happened to be on the same Metro car as us going home. Big smiles all around.

Also wildly popular were the "pie charts" Mark created from the data on the National Priorities website. They really pop in the photos, and were easy to carry because of his excellent design. A man who stopped by the pink tabling area seemed really annoyed by the data and wanted to debate me on why portraying discretionary federal budget priorities for fiscal year 2010 was "misleading" and "a lie." I told him he was welcome to crunch the numbers differently and make his own pie. His girlfriend dragged him away at that point.

Most people loved the pies and we donated one to a Pittsburgh chapter of Codepink, one to the DC office, and one to my mentor and friend Janet to take home to California for the BOW$H work there.

The most inspiring part of the day was seeing people streaming into the mall from every direction for as far as the eye could see. They were there to call on our government to create jobs and rebuild our communities. So many teachers from all over the country had joined in! It made me a little sad about the apathy of the vast majority of my colleagues in Maine. Plenty of teachers had stories about layoffs, huge class sizes, and school closings in their states.

There were two I met in line for the bathroom, one from NYC and one from NJ whose daughter was a teacher. They had already snapped up their BOW$H t-shirts before the march began. We had fun talking during the long wait.

The most fun part of the day was an early visual action on the steps of the National Archives (where we got kicked off by grouchy guards even though it's a public building and was closed for the day), spelling out Bring Our War $$ Home with pink parasols.

Many high school students from the DC area joined us thanks to organizer Zaccai. It was a little like herding cats but Rae was up to the task, and we later regrouped on the mound in front of the Washington monument to spell it out again. Tighe had done a terrific job on props as usual, and it was a great way to collectively get the message out.

Later we marched with our Maine banner and for a time were near Bruce marching with the one he'd brought. Other Mainers at the march: Ridgley, Pat T., Cat, Lora & Trudy. More soon on a national "move the money" organizing meeting and a well-attended BOW$H training by Codepink Sunday.

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