National World Can't
Spread the Resistance - Wear Orange Daily
Los Angeles Students Page
Los Angeles Endorsers
TOWN MEETING REPORT FROM LOS ANGELES
JULY 12, 2007 7pm
On a warm evening in Los Angeles, about 175 people gathered at
their town hall meeting at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Wilshire Blvd.
Declare Yourself Video
It was mostly a middle-aged crowd, punctuated by some youth, and distinguished by a number of seniors exuding a
notable and fiery stance against the Bush regime. Others seemed new to
political life. The overall spirit of the crowd was high and determined as
people sat listening intently, orange ribbons that had been given to them at
the door bedecking their clothing in a variety of ways. Each speaker was received with applause,
cheers and a few standing ovations.
René Auberjonois, an award winning stage, film and movie actor, began the program with a fiercely
powerful reading of the Call. When he finished, there was a moment of
quiet and then the audience rose to their feet in standing ovation. Before
introducing our next speaker, Stephen Rohde, we made sure to let people know
that they should visit our tables before leaving and pick up stacks of the
Call, sign the Call, and then to take them out to others for signing as well.
Steve Rohde, a noted constitutional
lawyer, spoke eloquently about how impeachment is not only necessary, but
possible. He underlined that people need to understand that it will take much
collaborative work between activists from various perspectives, causing such a
climate of dissent and opposition that we cannot be ignored; not by
representatives, and not by the media.
Elaine Brower, a member of the WCW steering committee, spoke of her experience as a Marine’s mother, and also
called the inaction and complicity of Democrats to attention. She shared her
experience of decorating her car with Declare Yourself orange festooning and
posters, and then driving slowly through Coney Island during the annual hot dog
eating contest, making her own kind of creative and sharp political scene.
She called on people to get involved and active around this campaign.
Sunsara Taylor, on the advisory board of WCW and contributor to Revolution newspaper,
drove home the need for an understanding of the full scope of the Bush program, that includes the outrage
of Katrina, theocracy and attacks on women, science
and critical thinking. She pointed out that even though there may be
a pending constitutional crisis, that we should all reflect on some of the
oppressive factors, such as slavery, that this same constitution was based on.
There was some applause and a few shouts of agreement with her from the audience
for this. Sunsara appealed to people to take up the Declare Yourself campaign,
and to come out of the stands and on to the playing field. One woman commented afterwards that
her grandchildren don’t know about the history of this country; the robbing of land
from Native Americans, small pox spread in blankets the government gave native
people, or what activists did in the sixties.
At this point we did a fund pitch, but not before we invited folks to stand up
and participate in some singing and chanting. “There’s a killer in the
White House, time to drive his a@* out! Can we do it? Yes we can!” They participated with full force and a
certain amount of glee. We sat down, passed our fund baskets around, and introduced our last speaker, Professor
Dennis Loo, co-editor of “Impeach the President”, and new member of the WCW
Dennis outlined some of the crimes of the Bush regime, and the danger the world faces if we do no not stand up
against all of this and drive them out. The audience quieted as the seriousness
of the situation seemed to give them pause. Dennis changed the mood sharply as he introduced the Declare Yourself
campaign, and some of the thinking behind it. He engaged the audience in some call and response, where the audience would
respond to statements by shouting out, “Declare Yourself! “ The mood lifted once again, and as Dennis finished
his presentation, almost half of the audience left to collect bandanas, orange
crepe paper and stacks of the call, and to talk with each other about their
“orange” plans. We had to quickly let
people know that the panel Q&A was about to start, and so some sat back
down again and engaged with the speakers. Folks didn’t have questions so much
as they took this opportunity to make statements about how disgusted they were
with the current political situation. One written question about why the media does not report on the true
casualties of the war was addressed by each speaker, with the general consensus
that it was up to all of us to get the word out and to take action to stop the
People fell away, and speakers engaged
one on one with those remaining. We began the video process of statements from people on why they are wearing
orange. People lined up for turns to do this, wearing bandanas, ribbons and
holding up the WCW orange “Impeach” posters as they spoke. These statements will be made available on
our national website.
In talking with people, we found that a
good number had found out about this event from our ad in the NYTimes. Others heard about it from friends, and a
good number of KPFK listeners knew about it because it had been announced
As the evening ended and people began
to leave, a hum of industry and commitment continued to crackle, much as the
spirited and determined energy in the hall had. The mood of
the people seemed to have shifted from confronting the reality of the whole
program, to taking responsibility and leaving with stacks of Calls, orange crepe paper and DY flyers, and making
plans for where they would take out the “wear orange” campaign.
All of our orange crepe paper was taken to wrap around trees the next day, and
about 4,000 Calls had been distributed in packets with the same number of
Declare Yourself half page fliers. Some people were making plans for house
parties around the BCC dvd. As
organizers loaded their cars and drove away, little pieces of orange crepe
paper rolled along the sidewalk in the night breeze, and a tree outside the
church glowed from the orange wrap someone had given it. Evening orange.