December 14, 2014
The sun came out in San Francisco yesterday as we marched in step with thousands of people across America, shouting “Black lives matter!” “Hands up don’t shoot!” “I can’t breath!” and carrying signs and banners emblazoned with the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and Tamir Rice, unarmed black men and boys who’d been gunned down by police. We staged a die-in on Market Street by the Powell Street cable car turn around, the hub of San Francisco’s shopping district and called out, “Stop shopping! Start marching!” I was with a group from Veterans For Peace and three of us carried the Veterans For Peace flag. Many sad feelings rolled through the march but one good feeling was the number of demonstrators who were young and white. Hope is alive if the majority begins to see the problems and take action to make a change.
Earlier in the week I attended a meeting about the Pacific Pivot, the United States military’s expansion in Korea, Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines. The meeting was hosted by the Center for Political Education. In my notes I wrote, “A space for healing and raising awareness,” and, “A conqueror of oppression.” Other groups involved in the meeting were Asian Americans For Peace (AAPJ) and Justice, and Bayan USA. Sixty people packed the little meeting space and most of them were young, which is really the point I want to make. In one week I went to two political gatherings outside the established two-party view of America and most of the people were young. For years I’ve gone to demonstrations and looked around at a mob of gray haired demonstrators. One of the moods of these gatherings was the feeling civil disobedience was going to die off in America. What a shame and disaster that would be. All the bantering around these day of the word patriot, it’s often overlooked that the United States emerged through the effort of civil disobedience against British rule, and that women got the vote through demonstration and picketing, and that Rosa Parks and the young people who sat at all-white lunch counters began the breakdown of Jim Crow. Acts of civil disobedience guaranteed by our Bill of Rights. Courageous patriotism.
Photos: Judith Sandoval 2014