reflections related to disability advocacy, family and (needed) cultural change
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Tropic Thunder Protest: We Did It!
Well, we did it! Rochester joined the ranks of localities where the people with disabilities and the people who believe in them stepped up and were seen. I think it went well—not quite the way I expected, but well.
When we arrived at the theater the news stations were already there and the theater’s manager met us. He told us that we could not be on their property and that he had already called the police. Some of our membership were comfortable with the idea of civil disobedience, most weren’t (I wasn’t, but who knows? Maybe someday I will be…never thought I would ever do even this! I was a nervous wreck before I got there—now, I feel empowered!)
We moved to the road at the edge of the theater’s property which turned out better anyway because we were off to the side at the theater—where we moved to everyone who entered or left the grounds had to deal with us… (Should I send the theater a thank you? What is proper etiquette for something like this?)
There were 35 of us still there when I finally remembered to ask people to give me their contact info…
We handed out a bunch of The National Arc’s fliers on hate speech, engaged with some folks in conversation, interesting conversation. Some people were very receptive. Some weren’t.
One guy said we shouldn’t have been protesting, that our being there made him want to watch the movie. I said that when he did he would hear our voices in his head. He agreed that was true. Would he have our voices in his head if we weren’t there? He said probably not…
He also told us that we could buy a ticket for a different movie and then see Tropic Thunder… I didn’t know you could do that!!!
I tell ya, I was learning every minute.
Parents of toddlers were marching with self-advocates who have been arrested numerous times for civil disobedience. People from the University of Rochester/Strong Center for Developmental Disability and the Transition Project marched with advocates and self-advocates from several different agencies. It was very good.
This experience has given me a very interesting view of the adult agencies in our area—everyone is much more multi-faceted than their corporate reputations imply. This is good to know. Very good to know since my daughter is 14.
My own family was amazing—I was very proud (still am!) My daughter made signs, my son handed out fliers, my other daughter carried a sign and made her own chant, “We Want Respect!” (I love it!!!) My husband did everything--handed out shirts, got beverages, handed out fliers, talked to people, you name it, he was on it. (Yes, I did hit the family jackpot, thanks for asking!)
My new answer for "It's just a word!" is:
THEN YOU WON'T MIND NOT USING IT!
It being no big deal and all....
We were on 3 news stations (here) and in a community newspaper… (One tv station's video doesn't work, and one didn't post their video, but I will link if that changes)
I found out the blogger who writes Not Dead Yet is from Rochester. Yes, a real Blog-Celebrity was there!!! I love when that happens.
The picture above is of the protesters wearing Words Hit Like A Fist T-shirts and carrying signs. Other people took lots more pictures—which I hope they send out.
Note to future protestors: emptying your camera’s memory card before the event is good. Emptying your memory card AND charging your battery would be better! Or so I imagine.
See, learning every minute!
Because this group of diverse and committed believers were there yesterday, I hope other Respect Initiatives in Rochester over the next months will have new context. And the protesters want to meet to create some…
So who has some ideas for some good Respect Initiatives?? Join us, we’d love to have you!
I am the mother of three, wife of one. I am a Partners in Policymaking graduate and a committed disability advocate. I want to catch up on my scrapbooking, learn more about art-journaling, get my house in order, read all the books I have set aside to read and change the world--not necessarily in that order. The opinions in this blog are my own and not those of any of employers.