Respect the right to protest
I am one of the members of Occupy Moscow. I stand in Friendship Square silently with a sign. I stand there because the people of this country are being nickeled and dimed until they have lost the chance to advance in life.
I stand there because it is expensive to be poor. These days, banks and other financial institutions charge more for loans, have higher interest rates and add fees to people who make less than $500,000 a year. The money they take then goes to pay for elected officials so they will make laws benefiting corporations to make even more money off of those with lower incomes. It is an incestuous, cyclical system that is not democratic and does not serve the vast majority of the people of this country.
I stand in Friendship Square because the people who do not have health insurance also do not have the money to buy enough federal lawmakers in order to change the status quo. I stand in the cold because it is unethical to keep someone from renting an apartment because their credit rating — as determined by these same financial institutions — is deemed too low. I stand there because a credit rating is an invention by which the poor are kept poor via higher rates on mortgages, credit cards and fees for banking services.
As I stand there, occasionally cars with young men drive by and give me the finger and yell, “F– you” to me and the other members of the group. Their level of stupidity is further demonstrated when they are stopped 40 feet from me by the red light on Main and 3rd streets.
When they give us the finger they are giving the finger to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Personally, I am strongly motivated to drag them out of their car and kick their ass, but I refrain because the women in the group ask me kindly and politely not to. The belief that this movement remains nonviolent is deeply held by the vast majority of its members.
If the parents and the high school and university administrators could perhaps mention to those young men in their homes, schools and fraternities to whom they might have some degree of oversight or influence, to refrain from insulting all those who stand silently with signs, a right guaranteed by the Constitution, I would be grateful.
I will continue to silently hold up my sign and accede to the tenet of our group, that we remain nonviolent, for as long as I can. It will be a long time.
Digital Media major
Appreciating parents, friends, colleagues and allies
We would like to extend a special recognition to our straight allies. We would like to take a moment to thank them for their role in our lives. It is not only our colleagues, friends and peers, but also our parents and families who love us in a world where hate sometimes seems more common. For some of us this includes our straight grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and families who have accepted us, not in spite of our sexual orientation, but simply accepted us. The LGBT movement has benefitted greatly from the courage and support of our straight allies who have had the courage to stand with us even as others have opposed our very existence. Our allies here at the University of Idaho who took action when the Pride flag was burned, who helped establish the LGBT office on campus, who went out of their way to make sure our campus was safe for all students. To all of our heterosexual allies who have attended Safe Zone training or meetings, Gay Straight Alliance events, supported us from afar by endorsing the non-discrimination policy on campus and used “partner” instead of spouse to acknowledge that we are all part of the Vandal community, we say thank you. If there are heterosexual people we would like to recognize in particular it is indeed our parents, our friends, our colleagues, our allies.
and 23 members of Gay Straight Alliance
Education solution to
While I agree that the playing field isn’t level and something needs to be done, I have a different view on the solution. What I’ve seen imbalanced in the playing field in my 39 years are education and discrimination, and a good education is the best weapon against discrimination of every kind.
Not that I’m against having “history months” or minority parades, but how do either really fix the problem? I grew up in the deep South in the 1970s amid horrible discrimination and in-your-face racism and I can assure you history months and parades didn’t change anything.
In the sixth and seventh grade I was bussed across town to go to terrible schools in poor black neighborhoods. While these schools were an abomination, this wasn’t reserved just for the black poor. My high school was in a poor white neighborhood and was equally horrible. This was not the case in the wealthier areas of town where the schools were beautiful and the teachers were excellent. The differences between these schools in SAT scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were galactic.
The very different educational opportunities in America create the imbalanced playing field and all the parades, history months and reverse discrimination in the world won’t fix what your formative years create. If you really want to level the playing field, level it where it becomes imbalanced, during K-12 schooling. Spreading discrimination doesn’t end discrimination.
A great education for everyone and time for that to take an impact will level the playing field in a way that nothing else can.
Respect the right to protest