Waymon Hudson

Protests not Convenient? Deal with it.

Filed By Waymon Hudson | November 14, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Florida Amendment 2, march, marriage equality, National Day of Protest, Prop 8 protests, protest march, rallies

I have been amazed at the online and grassroots explosion that the National Day of Protest has spawned. It started with one small blog then took on a life of its own, with hundreds of cities around the country now holding joint protests at their City Hall on Saturday, November 15th.

It makes this young(ish) activist's heart soar to see people, especially young people and student groups, taking the initiative and staging massive protests. Facebook groups are popping up everywhere, blogs and listserves are buzzing, and our community is mobilizing.

But what has surprised me is the number of grumblers I have heard- whether it be state and national groups or individuals. Many are mad that they weren't consulted or indignant that these protest weren't cleared with them. My answer to them?

Deal with it.

Yes, it would have been great for all of these people to be so fired up before the election. Yes, it would have been nice to have them involved in politics before now. But you know what- they want in now. You can't have it both ways- complaining that more people weren't involved, then being angry when more people are.

We have so many battles to fight as we move forward that I don't care how they got active or what motivated them. I'm just glad they are here now.

So hop on board or get left behind. Throw your hat into the ring, help harness the energy, and stop complaining. We need to support and nurture these new voices. Our movement has room for everyone- the political, that radical, the young, and the old.

Marriage Equality not your "main issue"? Get involved in the rallies and make your issue heard. In Florida, we are extending beyond Florida's Amendment 2 (which goes beyond marriage and might strip away domestic partnerships) at the protests to include trans rights, LGBT bullying in schools, minority inclusion and outreach, and many other things that mean something to us in Florida. That's the great thing about protests- they can include everyone and everything. It is a collection of voices speaking out.

I for one am proud of these groups popping up and will do all I can to help them. Sometimes things need to get a little out of control, take on a life of their own, and spill into the streets. If nothing else, this should show the established groups that there are areas (like online organizing) that can be tapped into.

So it may make you uncomfortable or hurt your pride or make you mad, but don't get in the way of people that want action. Help them, guide them, and be the leaders that these new activist are seeking.


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I just hope that the protesters are applying for city permits to march, wherever those are required. Marching or demonstrating without a permit just gives the local law enforcement a green light to really go to town and make mass arrests and mistreat demonstrators.

In September I posted a piece about the quiet criminalization of protest that has taken place in the last 20 years. It ain't the Sixties any more. Check it out at
http://www.bilerico.com/2008/09/we_must_end_attacks_on_the_right_to_peac.php

Amen, Waymon. And good point, Patricia. Transfolks in particular don't need to have any extra incentive for the cops to harass them. The organizers owe it to the community.

Waymon,
Don't forget that cities that are also the state capitals (Atlanta) will be frying the bigger fish by protesting in front of their capital buildings.

Also, in Atlanta, protests are legal without permits as long as they stay off of private property or the streets, which means, the sidewalks. Many cities also have such a rule, but is a good idea to check first.

On top of the protest from 1:30 to 4, we are having a candlelight vigil at 5 in the heart of the Atlanta gay district, 10th St. and Piedmont.


"Yes, it would have been great for all of these people to be so fired up before the election. Yes, it would have been nice to have them involved in politics before now. But you know what- they want in now. You can't have it both ways- complaining that more people weren't involved, then being angry when more people are.

We have so many battles to fight as we move forward that I don't care how they got active or what motivated them. I'm just glad they are here now."

Waymon, I could not disagree more. It's not until we start acting proactively instead of reacting once we've already been kicked in the teeth that we're going to get any wins here.

We should have been in the streets in October, before these votes took place, not sat on our butts until the damage had already been done. The battles are now that much tougher than they should have been because now we've been pushed back even further. That's nothing more than a recipe for continued failure.

Imagine if all these protests taking place now nationwide had happened last month, before voters went to the polls, instead of now that minds have already made up and all the votes cast. Maybe if we'd done that it might have made the difference, at least in California.

As long as we continue reacting after the damage has been done instead of acting proactively while there's still time to change hearts and minds we will continue to lose and lose and lose.

Yes- waiting for the answer to the question can make it appear it's okay to ask the question in the first place. Plenty of folks generally held their breath as if the result to Prop 8, if it it was shot down, would be a victory when the initial tragedy was that it went forward to the voters in the first place. That said, protest before, during and after...

Hindsight is 20/20. The damage is done. Getting upset with people not getting involved earlier is not going to change the past. "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it." We can look at this as a lesson to be learned from . . . a very hard lesson. Now, let's move forward.

We can do the shoulda, coulda, woulda Monday morning quarterback forever and we'll get nowhere.

We are where we are now, not where we were yesterday. All these new people are now willing and motivated to fight for equality with those of us who have been fighting for a long time. Let's look at the positive and all work together to overturn the negative in Florida (and Arizona, Arkansas and California).

Unfortunately, I think it takes getting kicked in the teeth for many people to get off their butts. In my book, that's just human nature - play ostrich until you can't anymore, then get pissed.

I think that's definitely been seen in the amendment states, where, yes, the amendment itself motivated many people to action, but the aftermath pulled in even more. I know that was definitely true in Michigan, where the year after Prop 2's passage, they saw record turnout at prides across the state, and people being more politically active in general.

While I might be frustrated those folks didn't join in the initial battle, that's what it was: a battle, not the whole war. And I'd welcome new recruits to the war against injustice with open arms, anytime they want to enlist.