I’ve been meaning to write about this on my blog since I got back twelve days ago, but with the end of semester rush to get work done and see friends before we all leave for the summer, I haven’t found the time. I did write about my experience in an opinion piece for the Campus, my third one this semester, but I wanted to write something more casual on here.
I was fortunate enough to go to this awesome protest two weekends ago in Washington, DC with a couple of other Allegheny students. We spend two days listening to speakers and talking with other activists about corporate influence in politics and capitalist oppression. I left feeling so gratified and so empowered to take this work back to the Allegheny community (and super sun-burnt). But, as often happens after leaving these big rallies, things sort of fall through the cracks and the work tends to fall to the wayside as more pressing things happen.
But back to the weekend. We left campus Friday night around 6, and with stopping for dinner and dropping one of our classmates off at her friends place, we arrived at 1 am at the church we were staying at in DC. The church had to kick us out at 7 am every morning because it needed to be used for other things, and our wake-up call was at 6 am, so we didn’t sleep very much that first night.
Saturday morning we went for breakfast and the National Zoo before the events started. The first day involved an opening speech or call to action, and then a couple of panels on different topics pertaining to democracy. I went to one on the fight for DC to become the 51st state, and another on voting rights for ex-prisioners. Then there was another call to action talk before breakout sessions for individual states (or groups of states), to see what action we could take locally. After the talks, we had this great Cuban food for dinner, where we shared the table with a couple of other people from the conference/protest/rally, and went to bed as soon as possible!
Sunday morning, we got breakfast and spent a couple of hours at the White House: walking around it, taking pictures, and trying to find our other Allegheny cohorts. Then we walked over to Dupont circle and a farmer’s market there before heading to the main event: the rally and march. The rally was in front of the Capitol building and lasted roughly two hours. We heard a member of the Federal Election Commission and the president of the NAACP speak, among other. Everyone was really passionate and there were a lot of really cool protest signs. Then we marched past multiple the Capitol, Congressional office buildings, the Supreme Court, and ended at Union Station. There were other rallies and a massive sit-in on Monday, but we had to get back to Campus. We left Washington DC around 6, stopped for dinner and gas, and got back to Allegheny around 1 am Monday morning.
Anyways, if you want to read my piece for the Campus on this same subject, here’s the link: http://alleghenycampus.com/13275/opinion/allegheny-student-protests-in-democracy-awakening/