By Marie Bolla
Protest. OCCUPY. Change. Alter a system that institutionally causes pain.
Have you ever seen a post on Facebook urging you to re-post, call a senator, or “like” an organization so you can help make a difference? How emotionally upset do you get before it causes you to say, “Forget it! I’m calling my Representative or Senator’s office immediately!” Perhaps you make the call and realize that’s not enough. A rally is in order. You surf the net and before you know it, you find yourself somewhere on Second Avenue on your lunch break, after organizing your friends (or the city) to stage a protest against a poignant and personally painful issue. How often does this really happen?
What cause motivates you to draw the line between resting on a comfortable couch at home, and getting out of your house on a rainy afternoon to attend a town hall and state exactly how you believe our city needs to change its system? What issue causes you to protest? Picket? Demonstrate?
Our Community is exploring this idea through a Phinney Reads event on April 4th. We’re featuring the book, “Seattle in Black and White: the Congress of Racial Equality and the Fight for Equal Opportunity.” In the 1960s, co-author Maid Adams, along with many of Seattle’s citizens, made the life-altering decision not to allow things to continue as they were. They staged a protest against obvious racism in the Central District which allowed grocery store owners to not hire African-American employees. Racism also allowed realtors to be “busy” when non-whites wanted to purchase a house. Drawing the line, these activists, along with dozens of neighbors-- and shopping carts-- fought against society and government to ensure that they, too, had the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Civil Rights Era may have been named for the 50s and 60s, but we still face Civil Rights issues today. Racism still exists, along with issues like marriage equality, accessibility for all citizens, housing for our indigent population and income disparity – has anyone heard of the 99%???
What name shall we call this movement?
I don’t have the answers, but we can look back to the work of CORE, and those who lived through the experiences of “Seattle in Black and White” and be inspired towards change.