The crowd raised their fists and chanted for justice. Jeralynn Blueford’s voice was the loudest. She and her husband had taken the stage to spread the news of their son Alan Bluerford who was shot and killed by a member of the Oakland Police Department. As they thanked festival attendees for their time, community members circulated the park handing out flyers for a rally in front of the district attorney’s office. I wondered how many people would attend the rally for Alan Blueford. How much of getting people out and fighting was connected to national news coverage? Must an issue be viral before there would be enough voices? Would the current stay of the Trayvon Martin case make people more or less likely to get involved with Alan Blueford?
Today is the day on the flyer. I’ve read accounts of shooting. I’ve watched videos of speeches. I’ve seen the comment sections. My question now is where would I be most effective? For a long time I refused to attend rallies and marches. If you couldn’t give me details about a planning meeting or an outline of what we were doing once we left the streets, I couldn’t get down. I was convinced of the power that many of our elders had when they took to the streets, but not so certain of ours. At some point I started to see the power of the visual. Maybe volunteering and working with community members isn’t enough if you can’t get folks to turn out and show that they’re in support of your cause.
As I get older, my thoughts on and my brand of activism change. What forms of activism do you find most effective?
How do you facilitate change?