(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
As usual, I heard many car horns honking as I pulled up to the intersection of Alameda and Wadsworth last Saturday, October 17, 2020. But it wasn’t an accident, sports fans, or a wedding parade – it was the usual coterie of local Lakewood activists that have been demonstrating at various intersections each week since last spring. I tapped out a quick “Shave and a haircut” on the horn and hurried to park and join about 70 of my friends and comrades in peaceful protest.
Since spring of 2020, Lakewood Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) has been organizing “pop-up” protests during rush hour at high-traffic intersections in Lakewood. The group’s founders, Christopher Arlen, Zenat Shariff Belkin, and others had felt compelled to do something when George Floyd was publicly murdered by police last May, and cities were convulsed with protests and brutal reaction. They wondered if people would come out for quick one hour protests to create a visible nonviolent presence in Lakewood. They recruited their friends, neighbors, families, church members, and Democratic colleagues to stand during rush hours on Tuesdays for 16 weeks. For months, “Black Lives Matter” was the focus of the signs and of the one hour vigils. Protesters generally avoided partisan messages, focusing on the issues of racism and violence in policing.
But in October, with the election underway, and a Republican court-packing maneuver in progress, many of the protesters were the same, but the subjects of the signs were different. Signs praising the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, signs affirming women’s right to abortion and reproductive freedom, a Trump puppet figure, and plenty of American flags and Biden / Harris 2020 signs were on view from 2-3 pm. Brenda Bronson organized the Lakewood action as one of hundreds around the nation in solidarity with the Washington Women’s March 2020.
The decision to feature American flags was a conscious one – the right wing cannot be permitted to have exclusive claim on the ideals (freedom of expression, democracy, equality and justice) that the flag represents. Attendees at the Lakewood pop up protests have been flying big flags and little ones – subtly proclaiming that protest is as American as the flag and apple pie. We’ll share….but we’re taking the flag back.
Response from passing drivers and pedestrians has been overwhelmingly positive – most honk in support, pump their fists, smile, make peace signs, etc. One in a hundred will yell an obscenity or show disagreement – occasionally “rolling coal” to surround a protester in a cloud of smoke, or vague threats about abortion rights meaning “someone will kill us next”, or screaming “Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group”.
Trump’s “suburban women” and men are showing up in Lakewood – and their message is strong, clear, positive, and anti- Trumpism. Democracy is a participatory sport.
(all photographs courtesy of Brenda Bronson)
You needed some other signs:
"115 hurts Colorado families. Vote NO on 115."
"Keep politicians out of our bedrooms. Vote NO on 115."
For the other conservatives hanging around here……
"Keep big government out of our bedrooms. Vote NO on 115."
CHB, definitely bring your “Vote No on 115” signs. Any pro-voting, progressive signs are welcome.
The organizers plan to demonstrate at Alameda and Wadsworth every weekday from 5-6 pm, and every weekend/holiday from 2-3 pm. Hope to see you there- I’ll stand in 1-2 times a week.
IMHO this style of protest and/or campaign beats door knocking, pandemic or no. It seems to me that you reach more people per minute this way with a message that is short, concise and memorable.
But I prefer walking the sidewalks, facing traffic (go a few blocks, cross over & come back), with my sign. At the intersections, when traffic moves, drivers need to focus on what they are doing not trying to make note of #FiretheLiar.
But it's a solo effort in Lafayette so far and I don't have a catchy org name yet.
Maybe you can become the Lafayette franchise of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) ??
It IS a cool acronym.
Kick, many of the people at our Lakewood actions walk around . It’s not like there’s a rule book, other than masking up and not getting into heated confrontations with those who disagree. We stay legal and peaceful, and that seems to be working well.
But you do have some options in Lafayette- both Indivisible and MoveOn have Lafayette chapters- you don’t have to protest all on your lonesome. Here are the guidelines for our actions- feel free to copy /change etc. Facebook seems to be a pretty good organizing medium. Good luck!
Walking is good. I'm in an area that has a long uninterrupted sidewalk that I can use. No curb cuts makes the activity safer for everyone.
Keep waving your flag.