posts tagged with 'test'

we are young people and/or want to support youth!

Lijah holding a pro-immigrant sign

making his voice heard (in a different way than usual)

Last week someone posted a notice to our church's "random" email list, which is open to anyone. "Care about making Massachusetts safe for immigrants? Are you a young person or want to support youth?" it asked. "Youth (of any age and supportive adults) will gather at the State House to advocate for passage of the Safe Communities Act. Join them!" I probably would have let it pass unremarked, but for a followup email that came through about an hour later. "Are we supposed to be posting controversial political topics on the Vineyard Church Random list?" wrote one Bryant Jones. "I would kindly ask for clarification on this as this event is highly left wing and offensive to some of us who love God and our nation." Wow! Well now I had to go!

We haven't done any protesting in a while and the boys are always up for an outing that includes a train ride, so after lunch on Tuesday we hopped in the car and drove to Arlington, then walked in to the train station (with a small detour to look at swans). The train ride was fine, though Lijah found it a little noisy and covered his ears the whole way. We got downtown with enough time to take in the sights before the rally was due to start.

the boys looking at a big fountain, with tall buildings in the background


Unlike our first protest, when it was icy cold, the day was blazing hot. While we weren't tempted by that fountain—it was a little icky-looking—we definitely would have waded in the Frog Pond had signs not forbidden doing just that. Harvey pointed out that the sign didn't say no swimming—clever boy—but we weren't really dressed for it. Plus, I wanted to get to the rally in time. As it turned out nobody else shared that priority, so we were able to snag the only shady spot available while we waited for the organizers to arrive.

the boys holding signs in the slim shadow of a wall in front of the State House

not a tremendous turnout

They were only a few minutes late, and they jumped into action. We signed petitions and made silkscreened logos—we got to take some home—before the chanting and speaking part of the program started. I talked to one of the adult helpers and learned that the group was from a class offered by Somerville Parts and Crafts, a big homeschool coop. They'd started an activism program back in October to protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline; this was their final project. Who knew back in the fall that this would be such a good year for protesting?

a group of kids in red shirts chanting on the State House steps

the kids are alright

The rally was written up on Wicked Local Somerville. Lijah and I are even in one of the photos on the article, though only barely; I think we deserved better since as far as I could tell we were the only unaffiliated family there. Which is strange; I don't know how everyone else managed to resist that email message!

(The train ride home was much quieter, Lijah would have me report, and the boys were delighted to have to stand nearly the whole way thanks to the rush hour crowd. They may have sung "Surfin USA" at one point. Then we finished the day with a lovely dinner with our East Arlington friends, which was just what I needed to recover myself from my protest-inflicted heatstroke. A good afternoon.)


striking out

Yesterday was meant to be the first national strike. It was kind of a letdown. I failed, personally. Well, not entirely; I didn't work (though I almost never work Fridays) and I didn't buy anything (never hard for me). But I failed to get down to the protest planned in Boston, or even to mark the day at all around here. What did I do instead? Yelled at the kids, made food, hung out with friends in the evening.

Since making a big deal about protesting a couple weeks ago I haven't taken a single concrete step. We've been pretty sick and snowed in—and the bizarre news comes so fast and furious it's hard to know how to focus my outrage anyway. Oh well.. I suppose there'll be plenty more opportunities!

protest every day

Full disclosure: I didn't go out and protest yesterday. Or today either. I went to work. But I did send some kind emails to people, which I hope counts for something!

When we were protesting on Tuesday it was strange to see folks walking around like everything was normal—lots and lots of folks, since we were in the middle of Boston! To the extent that it feels like the world is ending I'd expect everyone to be out in the streets letting everyone in earshot know that things are NOT OK. But of course we all have responsibilities—jobs and kids and friends and self-care. Important stuff.

But it would be nice if we could manage somehow to keep a protest feeling going even when we're doing all those other things. I'm thinking maybe a pin or badge or something—combined with an effort to be proactively kind to everyone I talk to while simultaneously not letting any offensive shit slip by uncommented upon. That's hard—probably even harder than making time to be out on the barricades every day. When I think about the administration, and the people supporting it, I want to start punching; and when I'm having a nice conversation with an older white woman who it turns out, oops, is kind of anti-immigrant racist, it's really hard to politely point out that maybe she should be kinder, or at least consider the demonstrable economic benefits of immigration. I'm working on it.

Real protesting is good too. I don't want to miss another big event like I did last weekend, so if you know of anything happening fill me in! I'm following the Boston Activist Calendar on facebook because it came up in a search, but with less than 3000 followers to date it can't be too important. And I overcame my strong resistance to joining anything and became a part of our local "Indivisible" group (that's how I learned about Tuesday's event, I think). But I'm still not seeing anything happening locally this weekend. Maybe people are busy planning their Super Bowl parties? Failing that, I'm looking ahead to the General Strike on February 17: if you do facebook, check it out and mark yourself as going. You can make it a thing! (For the record, right now there are 10,244 people "going" and 17,682 "interested". That's... not enough.)

You know, maybe this is all a fad and we'll soon get used to the Trump presidency. But I'm not used to it yet, so this is what I'm doing.


our first protest

Zion holding a protest sign

he agreed to hold the sign I made

As promised, we went protesting yesterday. There won't be any kids at the midweek events unless the homeschoolers pick up the slack!

We drove to Arlington and walked in to the train station. We left home early enough that there was plenty of time to stop and check out the new ice on Alewife Brook (among many other diversions).

Zion checking the very thing ice on Alewife Brook

it's what we do

The train ride itself was delightful, and we were happy to spend most of it chatting with someone we know from church. Looking around at the thin Red Line crowd I wondered if anyone else was going protesting... it turns out that, no, they weren't. This was a smaller event than what we saw over the weekend.

a small crowd protesting on City Hall Plaza

small crowd, big plaza

But that's good: we wouldn't want to be overwhelmed on our first time out. The bigger boys got right to work making signs (the organizer had white posterboard available to supplement our cut-up boxes!), while Lijah watched and shivered. Not that he wasn't willing—but he only managed to draw a couple lines before his hands got too cold and had to go back in his pockets.

Harvey and Zion working on protest signs, Lijah looking cold

putting their drawing skills to work

I missed getting a photo of Zion's beautiful abstract sign, completely colored on both sides, but here's Harvey's carefully staged protest display:

Harvey sitting behind his sign, posed to look like his stuffed dog is drawing it

his eye-catching pose

The sign was kind of a collaborative effort. The boys were having too much fun this morning to pay attention as I tried to tell them what we were going to do, so I wasn't surprised when Harvey said, in response some remark I made about the horrors of certain Executive Orders, "I don't really care about that." I told him he was a generally caring person, and would probably object to some of the specific implementations—he agreed. I also helped him spell "immigrants", so the I-turned-into-an-A towards the end is entirely my fault. It's hard to spell long words out loud while also intermittently chanting! Climbing up on the subway vent above everyone's head and making it look like his dog was just finishing up the sign was all Harvey, and he got an appropriate amount of attention for his efforts.

While it took the boys a fair amount of time to warm up to the act of protesting—no pun intended, but it was pretty cold!—they were totally unfazed by the city. There was lots to notice and remark on, and we would have been glad to explore more if we hadn't felt like we might freeze to death.

Zion in his hood, with tall buildings behind him

country boy in the city

On the ride home I took a video of the bigger boys chanting "No Hate! No Fear! Refugees are welcome here!" It is kind of catchy. They say they enjoyed the outing and are excited to go to another protest. That's good: I think someone should be protesting every day. Maybe the next one we do will be bigger. A little rest first, though: protesting is hard work!

Harvey and Zion on the subway; Zion lying down

protesting is hard work