On March 19, 2011 responding to the International Day of Action, my friend Glen and I arranged for a demonstration in beautiful downtown Biloxi. It was scheduled to be a busy day: A St. Patricks Day parade and a day of celebration at Keesler Air Force base featuring flights from the Blue Angels.
When I was ready to drive the few miles to arrive I was singing Zippety Do Da, Oh What a Beautiful Day. It was and the temperature was predicted to be 75 degrees with clear sky. Glen and I had discussed the details; we had both sent out announcements to at least 80 people to invite them to join us. I arrived right on schedule at 10:45a.m. and saw Glen tugging some 2×4’s to this beautiful site just east of the Hard Rock Casino and right across from the Biloxi Greens where a St. Patrick’s Day fair was being held. We appeared ready to “go”!
Glen had checked with the Biloxi police and everything appeared in order. Unfortunately, he had not told them that he planned to erect this enormous sign and lean it against this beautiful oak tree in this little park area. We spent about an hour putting this 150 lb. thing together to lean it against the tree and rope it so it was secure. Imagine two old men doing this right in full daylight! At the moment of the placement, a young policeman drove up to tell us we couldn’t do that. The sign came down and we proceeded with some much smaller ones which were “portable.”
Our emphases in the protest were: Corporations Are Not People, Keep Corporations Out of Elections, Jobs Not War, Heart The Troup and Hate the War, etc. The traffic on Beach Blvd. was fantastic. People would honk and give us thumbs up. About two hours later one more person joined up and then a second. By that time the St. Patrick’s Day parade had begun and they were throwing beads from their floats. Carol started giving the ones thrown to us to passengers in cars and shouting “honk for peace.”
It turned out to be a memorable event and I heartily recommend it to others. Just make small signs (perhaps 2′ x 3′) you might take with you, (professional if you can) to emphasize the core issues we are dealing with today. Keep it simple and stick to issues and not to personalities. Use to educate and inform first.
It was a good first effort. Demonstrating on a busy street, especially where there are stop lights is really useful. I recommend that we share experiences even if they aren’t the best!! And stick with your efforts; feet to the ground will count! Chris Hedges describes it as good for the soul and that’s the way it feels.
We will prevail. All you Fascist Bound to Lose!
Love and peace from Tom