Bush given an "unwelcome" at Yale's commencement
All was great at the protest against Bush at Yale University on May 21st. Some Official press accounts are listed below. For more reports please visit http://YaleProtest.iUpTown.com - which includes some pictures.
I must admit having this be the first protest I've organized (and a special thanks to all the Yale Students who also organized protests, that we coordinated with - I hope that we work more with them in the future!) I was pretty nervous. Talking to everyone on the train that was participating, as well as meeting up with all the protesters at the New Haven stop, got me in the mood though. From there it was amazing!
Our first protesting stop was about a block away from the main entrance into the building. The line was right in front of us and we made sure they knew why we were there. And surprisingly, a handful of those in line gave the good ole thumbs up. My favorite part about the whole thing though, was that there were people at this event that represented not just the movement to restore democracy, but a whole coalition of those fighting Bush on other fronts as well, like saving women's rights, the environment, and those fighting to stop the tax cut. One sign read "Give Bush Scalia's Degree." I thought that summed up our plight very well.
I talked to the cop that seemed to be in charge of the area and he was polite, but he said that if we continued to chant, horses would come along to help direct us to another area. I thought I should ask our group if they would prefer to be silenced and stay near or shout like hell and get moved.
There was a consensus for the most part: shout like hell and stay! We did and guess what - there weren't any horses.
At this point there were four sets of protesters on campus. Yale students fighting for their union rights on the other side of the Commencement building, the group on the corner I refer to above, the people in front of the entrance (more on that below) and the people in line... who went to their ceremony in protest.
That doesn't account for the 150+ student/faulty group that signed a petition boycotting the ceremonies that day because of Bush.
After awhile some protesters decided to get a little closer and walked right up to the entrance (across the street) of the building. At first I thought they'd quickly be moved away but after a little while I went over there with the remaining protesters to see if we could stay. Bob Kunst had already picked his spot with table right there in front of the main entrance and the cops were cooperative. Apparently when the first officer said that the street we were originally on was the "designated protesting area" - he must have made a mistake. Heh.
The police were amazingly supportive. Not just in allowing us to stand across the street from the main entrance but just in talking with him. One cop was a supporter for sure. It made my day.
Many of the graduates had signs of protest on their gowns and caps protesting a wide variety of issues from Women's Rights and the Environment to the right to Unionize and "No More Bushit". But inside is where all the action took place.
When the lines to enter died down, protesters (provided their signs couldn't be seen by cops) were allowed to enter en masse. About four of us stayed to watch the signs as everyone else rushed to get in.
I stayed behind but I wished I could've been there. When Bush was announced, we greeted him loud and clear: "...the boos from graduating students were as loud as the cheers..." (New York Times, see below). Signs came out from all around with slogans varying in issue and point. My favorite from reports was "Not My Lawyer" - a spin off of Not My President... Hahhah!
People booed and jeered, many turned their backs in silence, and many heckled him for the rest of the speech. It was a great show of the peoples will. We have to make our voices heard loud and clear when Washington comes to us. That's what happened at Yale University. That's what will happen every time Bush visits any state of the union, from now to the end of his dictatorship.
When the crowd let out, we all got together again and chanted like before. I saw many new faces joining in this time, protesters from inside. It felt great to see such a coalescence of issues fighting one opponent.
We must have upset someone. I came to that conclusion when a huge Rider Truck being filled with stage equipment and security staff decided to park directly in between us and the entrance. It didn't stop us though, we moved to each side of the truck to make sure everyone saw us.
Press was there from all over and we definitely got coverage.
Afterwards many of us went to get some grub. Most of us were starving and although it was cold (a recurrent theme wherever Bush goes... Hmm...) it was fun. We chatted it up with each other, shared our favorite moments and talked about future actions.
That's about all there was for me, I was able to get myself a ride home and slept most of the way. All in all, this protest was a resounding success.
On the way to the car, we talked about the impact we may have had. I said that either way, it was all good. The response, a great point was "No, it's all bad." It's not going to be all good until we finally accomplish our goals. Until Bush is out of office and democracy is restored and we are fairly and justly represented in all three branches of government.
It reminded me of why we protest in the first place. Even though this may have been a success, as was May 19th and other protests, we will always fight for what this country was founded on. We will always fight Jefferson's Revolution. Hoffman's Revolution.
"Thanks to Dean Heagle for these great pictures!"
Here are some of the many press reports about this event. The first two are two great articles from the Hartford Courant - one of Connecticut's leading newspapers, the next link it to a report from the New York Times, USA Today, the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and the Chicago Tribune.
There are many other reports, make sure to visit http://YaleProtest.iUpTown.com for more information and some great pictures of the event.
The Hartford Courant
more from The Hartford Courant
New York Times
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Also discussed the visit last night (5/22) on Politically Incorrect with Bill Mahr.
Is the "Free Republic" dead? http://WWW.FREEREPUBLIC.COM/forum/a3b0826d267c5.htm
As Letterman put it on last night?s Top Ten List of things Bush told graduates, "Move to Mexico because I'm gonna run this country into the ground."
This concludes my report on the Yale Protest, thanks for your time and thanks to all the people that made this event the success it was!