By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Group: Democracy Uprising!
Slogan: Beyond voting. As the website states, "Our actions will be voting for what we truly believe in and what we know is possible."
Purpose: Realizing that there are 258 miles and 30 days between the Democratic National Convention in Boston and the Republican National Convention in New York City, a group of activists from Olympia, Washington, called the Next Step Collective, formed Democracy Uprising!, a decentralized coalition organizing a march between the two conventions. Member Kat McIver explains that they will "use this time to take some of the focus off electoral politics and focus on the ways that ordinary people are empowering their communities. . . . The idea is to highlight grassroots democracy and mobilization that can concretely affect people's lives more than the elections probably will."
Ringing out the RNC din with 50,000 bells
Ready for the Revel-ution
Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign
Confronting poverty with action
Cycling for a better city
Events: Democracy Uprising! will leave from Boston Common on July 30 and arrive in Manhattan on August 26. They plan to cover 10 miles a day and will have events highlighting local struggles throughout the march (see their calendar and route). They don't aim to "colonize the towns," McIver explains, but to listen and support them in whatever way. This includes community garden plantings in low-income neighborhoods and horticulture workshops, skill-sharing teach-ins, "know your rights" training that deals with immigration and deportation, kid-friendly arts and crafts activities, spoken-word events, and concerts. Time's Up! will lead the group into Manhattan with a critical mass. Democracy Uprising! will also join Bushville on August 23.
Joining Up: There are many ways to join. "We recognize that to be able to take this month off is a privilege so we encourage people to come out for an afternoon or even the entire month," says McIver. You can register for any part of the march on the website, and walk-ons are always welcome. (So far, 72 people have registered out of the estimated 150 marchers.) Donations of all sorts are needed but especially in the form of financial contributions, food, housing, sleeping bags, child care, and medical supplies. You can fill in parts of the route that are yet to be finalized (such as between the Bronx and Manhattan) and help organize or participate in regional events. As McIver notes, "The march is really about trying to build local and global solidarity. There are struggles all over the place and people don't even realize how interconnected they are."