The value of sustained protest! Hear our messages!

We attended another ‘Tuesdays with Tillis’ protest at the Federal Building in Raleigh on Tuesday, 8/22/17. At least 45 people were there. People have been protesting there every week since the inauguration in January. The size of the group varies, but 7 months later – these weekly protests are going strong. 

It was fascinating to hear that the building security guards think we, this weekly group of protesters, hate the government. Somehow they don’t understand that we want and expect Senator Tillis to talk to us, talk to all of his constituents. This is his job. One of the ladies went before the protest to use the bathroom in there and that is what she found out in conversation with a guard.

How do they get such a wrong message? They may hear some of our speeches, but certainly they can see the signs. Our signs are not anti-government signs. Calling out Senator Tillis, some of them. But not anti-government. And most are on issues we want to discuss with him. Or telling him to do his job. These protests focus on a different issue every week.

This past month or two homeland security vehicles have lined the street in front of the federal building. And the protesters are somehow not ‘allowed’ to visit Tillis’ office or leave him communication at the door. That is a bunch of baloney too.

But we know that Senator Tillis is noticing these protests – between the weekly Tuesdays with Tillis (his image if not himself), and the Flo-Tillis events at his fancy Lake Norman lake house.

I believe that Senator Tillis’ sponsoring a bipartisan bill is thanks to this kind of sustained protest and the dramatic protests at Lake Norman. 

See great coverage of the first Flo-Tillis protest at “Demonstrators protest outside Sen. Thom Tillis’ lakefront home,” 7/10/17, WNCN.com.

A grassroots Women Organizing for Wilmington protested NC Senator Thom Goolsby’s law office every Monday because of the motorcycle abortion bill fiasco in 2013. He eventually resigned. They are currently protesting the poisoning of their water (GenX). 

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Women Organizing for Wilmington protest the poisoning of their water (Cape Fear River) with GenX, and the local politicians who refuse to fix it.

See “Many things inspire Goolsby protesters to return each week,” 8/26/13, Star News Online.

The best known sustained protests in North Carolina are the Moral Mondays protests, covered locally and nationally – for years! Moral Mondays were generally led by Reverend William Barber, the President of the North Carolina N.A.A.C.P. and the leader of Forward Together movement. Many NOW members have been part of these protests as marchers, speakers and arrestees. The arrests helped bring extra attention to them. Another part of the Forward Together movement is the annual Historic Thousands on Jones St (HKonJ) events. 2017 marked the eleventh HKonJ, which ended in a rally outside the Raleigh Legislature. “Organizers claimed that more than eighty thousand marchers had attended, surpassing the crowd at the 2014 march, which was then the largest civil-rights gathering in the South since the era of Selma and Birmingham,” according to North Carolina’s Long Moral March and Its Lessons for the Trump Resistance, 2/17/17, The New Yorker.

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Raleigh NOW members at the 2017 HKonJ event. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Thanks to Karen Ziegler  in the Raleigh Indivisible group for organizing Tuesdays with Tillis. Thanks to Gerrick Brenner and Progress North Carolina for the Flo-Tillis protests in July (July 7 and 14). Thanks to the Women Organizing For Wilmington, still protesting 4 years later. Thanks to all of the people who consistently go out to protest. We will not be ignored!

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