There are many aspects from the N30 action day that are powerful. Three have stayed with me over the years. The first is that we all can be courageous and have our own unique part to play. I was in awe of the courage exhibited by the individuals choosing to participate in the direct actions. Although I was marching, I myself was not willing to lay my life on the line in that same way. For years afterwards I admired those individuals yet also looked down upon myself for not being ready to engage in that way. Looking back with perspective and experience, it makes sense to me. I am a Filipino/Arab mixed race and class male who was raised on one hand to assimilate in order to survive and also to use makes use of my privilege at the same time. While I was there to contribute my voice the other overall event, I was scared. In my day-to-day life, I already felt like I was “behind enemy lines every day” in a culturally white normed society. I was living in a different part of the even more culturally white normed Pacific Northwest at the time, very far from my family in the SF Bay Area. Picturing myself being accosted by police at N30, I didn’t have faith that my life would be valued or that I would survive the encounter. Was there validity in my untested fear? We will never know, but understanding some of the backstory has been helpful for me.
Secondly, art is powerful. There was a point in the protest where a troupe of women dancers moved in a synchronized way that deeply impacted thousands of people nearby and those like myself that heard about it second hand. As I understand it, they danced in a diamond formation, improvising and following each other. Their effect was powerful and able to shift the energy of the crowd in a more positive direction. I saw video of it afterwards. Arts are radical, especially forms where people can see themselves or their experience reflected in the act of creation.
Lastly, people getting together makes a difference. We witnessed the predictable violent response from the police and misrepresentation from corporate media. There were a few people damaging storefronts which was wildly divisive and yet a message was sent and received. That it would be more difficult that expected to promote and globally export the next round of inhumane rules that benefit a few very rich people and everyone else who invests with them unknowingly with their retirement accounts.
I am thankful for everyone who contributed to N30, their actions since then and for what we are called to do connecting and caring for ourselves and from that the world we love.