Day of Action, Intersectional Coalitions, and Big Dreams by J. Coco
“Hey hey, ho ho, the AFA has got to go,” still rings in my head as I unwind after a day full of camaraderie, lots of walking, and nothing but love. Never before have I been to a protest full of so many like-minded individuals all gathered to fight against a common enemy, hate speech and bigotry. From the ground up, the day was in the hands of those who truly want to make a change in their state and the world at large, and the power really did feel like it was in the hands of the people. Collective acknowledgement of intersecting struggles, public acknowledgement of flaws, and holding each other accountable, this day was truly nothing short of a success. To see this type of activism in Louisiana, at my alma mater no less, speaks volumes about the marvelous events and conversations happening in Baton Rouge and in Louisiana at large.
Speaking more specifically, it was wonderful to see that the leadership and speakers for the event were diverse and represented what an intersectional coalition of leaders should look like. It was wonderful seeing such a broad range of faces speaking out and also hearing the voices of people who may otherwise not ever get to speak out on these issues. When I try to envision a future of activism in Louisiana, this is what I want to see, what I saw today. So many brilliant minds came together to make the event possible, and it was wonderful to see what our leaders are capable of doing. To put it bluntly, you really could feel their enthusiasm in the air and connect on a multitude of levels; you truly didn’t feel alone listening to them. The leadership showed to us that they are willing to put it out there, be it through admitting faults in their own organizations and personal issues, or by simply just being human. If this is the trajectory for activism in Louisiana, then we’re going to be just fine in the future.
As for the discussion of the issues, a noteworthy element of the protest would have to be just how many things were talked about. Issues ranging all the way from abortion and homophobia, to racism, government spending, and holding politicians accountable, very few things weren’t covered at this rally. And in addition to the rally itself, the workshops and paneling provided a more in-depth look into the issues and allowed for everyone to bring things to the table, facilitating ample education opportunities. The day wasn’t just about taking to the streets, but also about taking to the classroom and committing to educating those who wish to enact change. Being able to witness the many open intersectional dialogues occurring reassured me that the winds of change are blowing strong in Louisiana, and we all need to stand firm and with each other and Act4Justice.
This rally wasn’t just about one type of oppression or issue; it was about understanding exactly how everything is tied into each other. This day was not just about Bobby Jindal and his prayer rally, it was a booming wake up call to everyone who wishes to fight the good fight in Louisiana. It was a reminder that even though we all come from a myriad of backgrounds, we are willing to put in the work to better understand each other and the world. It was a commitment to growth, a commitment to justice, and a commitment to solidarity, and I couldn’t be happier to have witnessed it.