Six women stood on a cold street corner last night. In the little town of Albany, Oregon. They held homemade signs up and smiled and waved. Six women, ranging in age from their 30s to retirement age. Six women, unafraid.
Traffic was sparse. It was the day after Thanksgiving and most residents passing through were on their way home from relatives or football games or Black Friday shopping expeditions to the local mall.
The six women chatted amiably back and forth, as their line stretched along the curb. “Corporations are not people,” read one sign. “I am the 99 percent,” read another. A pick-up truck gunned its engine in angry response. “Is that a statement?” asked one of the women. An enormous tow-truck turned on its flashing lights in support of the women and they enthusiastically waved back.
One week ago, 30 people had assembled peacefully on this same corner, showing their support to the 99 percent movement. This week, one of the women was afraid the low turnout would hurt the movement. “People will perceive our low numbers as waning interest,” she worried.
I am not worried. Here were six women. Holding signs they made themselves—much like women who moved a nation for the right to vote 100 years ago; much like women who sat in the front of the bus or at the “whites only” counter; much like the women who marched in the 1970s for equal pay and equal opportunity; much like the women who paved the way for female candidates for the presidency.
And if those six women cannot make it to the streets, six more will take their place. We must tell our daughters and sisters and nieces and granddaughters and mothers and grandmothers the time has come again for us to reach for courage.
We must not allow the 99-percent movement to be suppressed by state or federally sanctioned armed guardians. We must not condone this suppression silently, afraid to dissent, while violence is used on fellow Americans, whose constitutional right to peaceably assemble is part of our national pride.
If one citizen is harmed by our silence and by our politicians failure to react or recognize the movement exists, we are responsible. We cannot sit in our warm and comfortable houses while American citizens are disenfranchised further, or untruths spread about who the 99-percent participants are.
I am calling out to you, to take our place. Some of us work and cannot stand in support every week. Some of us are too old, or disabled, or called away to tend to young children or to our own businesses. Come. Replace us. Step in our footprints. In your own words, in your own way, in your own voice, share with your community and find common ground in dialogue.
Six women stood on the streets of Albany last night. Will you join them?
Causes Madeline MacGregor Supports