Cooperative Living: Week 12

Ongoing journey of living in an activist collective

What a week.

Tuesday night I hoped on a bus to DC with a bunch of activists in the city. On the bus ride there I sat next to a really nice woman whose son is one of the people currently facing felony charges for protesting in DC at trump’s inauguration. She looked at me meaningfully when she said this, and I responded with what she was thinking: “It could have been me.”

We stayed at a hostel that night, arriving around midnight. The next morning we got up early and all had coffee together. There were a few Black Lives Matter activists in the group, and I asked about the recent news about the FBI targeting “black identity groups as terrorists” similar to the COINTELPRO programs that went on during the 60s and 70s that locked up and killed many black activists. They responded that they have already been placed on many lists, just for simply identifying racial injustices in their communities.

“Yes. We have now been classified by the federal government as terrorists, even thought we have never participated in anything but peaceful actions. Have you ever talked to a terrorist before? You’re having coffee with a few right now.”

Getting on the bus to go to the protest, we picked up the people from Buffalo who had also traveled to DC for the protest. They got on the bus with us, and we ate breakfast on the way. It was beautiful- many, many Muslim Americans there in solidarity (read March Against the Ban).

At the rally I was happy to see a few activist faces who are nationally known- and I also stood right behind Code Pink.

There were also many great signs.

After the protest ended, I grabbed my backpack from the bus, said goodbye to the awesome activists I had met and then headed out into the DC landscape by myself. My next stop was the Capitol building down the street, where Carp’s brother is currently working. He gave me an awesome tour of the Capitol press rooms and Congressional conference rooms. I then took the metro back to C and Em’s place, who I would be staying with for the week.

Thursday was a relaxing day, and I got a lot of reading and writing done. Later that night I went to yoga class with Em. Friday I visited the foodbank that Em works at in Northeast DC, and became fairly competent at the metro system. Later that evening I attended a 50 year anniversary of the March on the Pentagon, where apparently a bunch of old hippies attempted to “levitate it” by pissing on it. I have never felt more in danger during a protest than I did during the protest at the pentagon that night. We were there legally, but we still have all this high profile security surrounding us, with people on top of the pentagon looking down on us with binoculars.

I somehow stumbled into conversation with a bunch of successful writers- and they invited me out to dinner with them afterward. However, I slipped away during a live performance by one of the singers from Peter, Paul and Mary (Peter or Paul… not sure which) and headed back to home base after a long day. Em and C were the best hosts ever, and we had a great time every evening.

Saturday I attended the CODEPINK conference, and met Medea Benjamin immediately upon entering the building. I got to share space with so many thoughtful and important people that day, including the VP candidate for the Green Party in the past presidential election, Ajamu Baraka (read Divest from the War Machine).

Sunday morning I got up at 5 am to make my 7 am bus ride. I took an uber to Union Station in DC- and for anyone that doesn’t know- the buses do not pick up out front of Union Station: you have to go to the back of the station, up two flights up stairs and into a parking garage.

So, after all my planning, I still missed my bus, but thankfully there was an 8 o’clock. However, because of the lost time, I missed my transfer bus in New York City, and thus I am still here– seven hours later! But I’m hoping I will get on the 8 pm bus back to upstate New York. If not, I’ve got to call around and find a floor to sleep on.

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midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe — http://eepurl.com/cZoiG9

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