The angry protesters shut down the City, but for how long?
The protest in front of the Urban League of Philadelphia, and later at the Comcast Center, was like many direct actions I've seen before: plenty of hand-drawn signs, top-of-the-lung chants and a promise to shut the City down unless demands of fair funding are met. And while the angry group of more than 300 parents, students, teachers, and activists was successful in blocking off main Center City streets during rush hour traffic, that intense level of activism won't be displayed everyday -- although it should -- so the question is: how do we sustain and harness our anger to make systemic change that transform communities?
If you look around town at the former school buildings that'll soon be swanky condos, the poverty and hopelessness in which most Philadelphians are dressed in, and the out-of-touch, of-out-their mind politicians who apparently perceive large-scale protest as a parade celebrating their servant-leadership, you'll see that there's plenty to be angry about; there's certainly no lack in unresolved issues.
Many of our schools have no full time nurses, music and arts programming have become a dream deferred, the quality of education has never been worse, and the quantity of teaching and learning resources have been diminished to a point where mediocre feels like a compliment. And despite what's becoming an annual Negro-led tap-dancing pity party -- which starts at 440 N Broad Street and ends up at City Hall with a hand-out and no plan -- the anger subsides and the promise of "no justice, no peace" is broken.
There seems something very illegal about what's happening in Philadelphia, yet it's the passionate activists who are fighting for the City's young that are arrested. The funding of public education here in Philadelphia seems like a complex issue, yet it's the innocent students who are doing the most pontificating: thinking of ways to stay alive, learn and graduate in a building that used to be a school. There's a lot at stake when it comes to fairly funding public education, but it seems only the teachers, students and parents are sacrificing -- I've never heard of a stadium being closed because the team didn't make the points or a politician's salary being drastically cut to make ends meet.
There are very few things that are right in Philadelphia -- and the obnoxious gentrification efforts aren't one of them. There's plenty to be angry about and countless ways to show it; using your voice and your dollar are the two most effective tools.
Spend nothing, say everything. Don't shut up, but shut everything down. To hell with staying in school: stay in the offices of your elected officials until they're forced to stand with you. Don't play by the rules, because your enemies aren't. Don't get weary in well doing, but be energized by your anger. Take back the streets, take back the schools, take back the politics and take back the right to the pursuit of happiness.
There's nothing happy about broke schools and broken-hearted youth; Philadelphians should be pissed-off with a capital P, and that frustration should manifest into daily disobedience and disruption. There's nothing wrong with being angry given the circumstances, this City is on the brink of collapse and the only thing that will charge the rejuvenation is people power
Be angry; stay angry... until change makes its way to Broad Street and beyond!
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I'm Flood the Drummer and I'm Drumming for JUSTICE!