Reflections from a Season of Nonviolent Direct Action and a new website!
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant." Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
IN THIS AUGUST ISSUE: Testimonies and reflections from A Season of Nonviolent Direct Action (July 12 - August 8th) by Student Organizer, Braedon Welsh, and LRC Board Members, Arelis Figueroa & Kelly Smith.
A Season of Non Violent Direct Action To Save Our Democracy
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, joined by dozens of partners, our 40+ state coordinating committees, and thousands of faith leaders engaged in a season of non-violent moral direct action (July 12 – August 8) to demand that Congress:
1. End the filibuster
2. Pass all provisions of the For the People Act
3. Fully restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act
4. Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hr
Below are a series of testimonies and reflections from student organizer, Braedon Welsh, and Labor Religion Coalition Board Members: Kelly Smith, and Arelis Figueroa.
Click here to read/watch Braedon's testimonies from this Season Of Nonviolent Direct Action
August 2 was the first time I was involved in a nonviolent direct action. Minutes after we took the streets, our leaders called for a few blocks of silent march. This gave me the opportunity to ground myself, check in with my feelings and emotions, and reflect again on why I was there. This was what came out for me: As a mother I was there for my daughter and her future, as a black woman and an immigrant I was there to pay tribute, to recognize and to continue the work that countless others before have done so that today we can enjoy the few rights we have left. Voting rights- ensuring a real democracy - is one of the main ones. That we have fewer voting rights now than 50 years ago is horrifying and it’s wrong. Forty-nine states have filed 400 laws with the intention to limit and suppress this right, all of this while workers continue to be denied a living wage and immigrants continue to be treated as second-class citizens with little or no rights. The march took us to the front of the Supreme Court, where we resumed singing and shouting loudly our slogans: “What do we want right here today? End the filibuster!” “Show me what democracy looks like!” Finally we reached the legislators' office where the action took full flesh, and we took it to the street. After ignoring police warnings for the third time, we were taken one by one and placed under arrest. We continued to shout, sing, and ask legislators listening from their offices, bystanders, and the police the same question I now ask you, too: “Which side are you on?”
On July 19 and August 2, I went to Washington, DC to demand the Senate end the filibuster, protect our voting rights and raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. I was ultimately arrested with nearly 100 other women on the 19th as a part of a coordinated and non-violent act of civil disobedience. At times, I felt almost overwhelmed by the weight of history as we fought for voting rights and living wages. Though my role was tiny, it was impossible not to consider all those who had gone before us, fighting - demanding - these very same things.
This history became all the more real on Aug. 2 when Luci Baines Johnson - daughter of President Lyndon Johnson, joined us at the rally and Rev. Jesse Jackson joined those being arrested. The “unarmed truth” - as MLK called it - is that we have fewer voting rights now than we did in 1965 and 18 states have already passed laws this year alone making it more difficult to vote. The unarmed truth is that the filibuster is a racist tool that in almost all cases has been used to curtail civil rights. Likewise, we know that poverty, racism and voter suppression are inextricably linked. Everyone at these events expressed this understanding and likewise acknowledged the urgency of these times.
While these painful truths had to be raised, I likewise found unconditional love ever present at all events and especially on August 2. When people from state campaigns all across the country come together, representing all backgrounds, all genders and all ages, the love for the work and for each other is palpable. I felt so humbled and blessed to be among others who had left their homes and families, taken time away from their jobs or left other responsibilities to spend a few days in the nation's capital because they felt called to join this fight. It’s difficult to adequately capture the energy and commitment at these events and how days that are so physically exhausting can simultaneously be so invigorating. I believe these actions are important tools in a larger, more comprehensive strategy to bring about systemic and lasting change. And while we may not immediately see victory and “right might be temporarily defeated” as Dr. King said, I believe we were born for a time like this and I believe that we will win.