Tuesday, May 02, 2017

"No Human is Illegal" the theme of Cheyenne May Day march

Front page of this morning's Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
The WTE second-page jump header quoted Rev. Rodger McDaniel over a photo of me. This struggle is biblical in many ways. Love thy neighbor as oneself. Stuff like that. 
Artwork and protest signs complement each other at the May Day March in the Depot. The multimedia piece in the foreground is CylieAnn Erickson's "Executive Order 13769."

I was one of a hundred-plus souls who came out on a rainy Monday for the May Day March to Keep Families Together in Cheyenne.

Organized by Juntos, the march protested Trump & Company's cruel attempts to demonize people from Mexico or anywhere south of the border. Put it together with Trump's attempted Muslim ban and you have a set of racist policies that deserve protesting.

Juntos enlisted the arts as part of its rally. One of the organizers, Gonz Serrano, read his poetry to the crowd as it sought shelter post-march in the Cheyenne Depot. A high school mariachi band played. Laramie artist Adrienne Vetter worked with Juntos organizers to stage an art show. The arts both personalize and magnify the cause.

Before the poetry and music came the march. The goal was to carry a letter, signed by organizers, to Gov. Matt Mead. His HQ resides at the other end of  Capitol Ave., the route  followed by most marches in Cheyenne. Rally at the Depot Plaza and walk eight blocks to the capitol, usually with a police escort. The capitol complex will be under construction for three years. So we visited the governor at his temp HQ at the old Schraeder Funeral Home quarters on the corner of 24th and Carey.

A delegation, led by Juntos Director Antonio Serrano, left the march and walked inside to deliver the letter to the Gov. They returned a few minutes later with the news that the Gov was in meetings all day and couldn't meet with them. The crowd was not pleased. Since the goal was peaceful protest and not civil disobedience, we turned around and walked back to the Depot.

A sound system had been set up on the Depot stage. But rain and a bit of hail forced us inside. I pondered the largest artwork in the exhibit. CylieAnn Erickson's multi-media piece, "Executive Order 13769," featured a human-sized Statue of Liberty behind a chain-link fence. The artist had included cutouts of newspaper headlines on the subject. It included a snake-like lamp jutting from the panel far enough that I almost bonked my head on it. It appeared that the lamp worked and was meant to illuminate the assemblage.

Writers attempt to comprehend the deeper meanings behind an event, and not always successfully. Marches like this were held all over on this May Day. L.A. had a huge crowd with reps from more than 100 organizations and unions, including the Screen Actors Guild, which may go on strike soon. Why should I care about a Hollywood screenwriter making a lot more money than I ever did as a writer? Because they are fellow humans trying to make a living in an economic system that does not care if you live or die. You must fight for it. Just as these immigrants are doing. ICE agents bust into their homes and haul away family members. Schoolkids taunt Hispanic peers. Cruelty abounds. Trump and his minions lead the charge.

The headline on the news clip above speaks of the universal nature of this issue.

Biblical? Shakespearean? Historic? You could describe our current situation with any of those. Or find your own term. We need witnesses. In print. In art. In music.

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