Friday, July 12, 2019

The Tide is Turning

My favorite home-made sign at Philadelphia's rally and march today recalls Lady Liberty and the poem written on her base. This was one of hundreds of protests, vigils, marches, and demonstrations throughout the country, and some globally as well.  I'm glad to have been part of it.

The crowd was swelled by folks who were attending the national Netroots Nation Conference which was meeting in the Convention Center, right where the march began.  They were identifiable by their ubiquitous orange name tags lanyards:

It was heartening to see that the majority of them were millennials and Gen Xers.  Many had "first time attendee" ribbons attached to their name tags.  Who are they?  On the Netroots Nation website it says:

"Our attendees are online organizers, grassroots activists and independent media makers. Some are professionals who work at advocacy organizations, progressive companies or labor unions, while others do activism in their spare time. Attendees can choose from 80+ panels, 60+ training sessions, inspiring keynotes, caucuses, film screenings and lots of networking and social events."

How appropriate that this year their annual conference is in the home of the Liberty Bell and the Constitution Center - and just happened to coincide with the Lights for Liberty action.  Seeing so many young activists and feeling the synergy being created gave me hope and a certainty that the future of our democracy is in good hands.  

Some of the march's signs were hand-made:

Berks County Residential Center is an ICE detention center in Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia.  

Some signs were already printed - and in a variety of forms:

It was a newsworthy day.

We'll see what kind of news coverage is given to hundreds of events nationally and around the globe.  We were in the heart of downtown at lunchtime.  People left their offices and were on the streets watching, taking photos and video.  Tourists were watching from atop their tour buses.  Most seemed interested and sympathetic.  A large flank of police on electric bikes made sure that traffic around city hall was stopped for the march so that we could safely take over the busiest of streets.  Some of them had immigrant names themselves. I wondered how many of them were marching with us in their hearts.