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Funk the Weekend

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7 – Part 8

Part 6

Good morning!  I was up and at ’em for a third day of demonstrations, though this third one was on a different topic: immigration.  This was the March for America – a pro-immigration march, focusing on comprehensive immigration reform.  Let’s admit it – the current immigration system is broken, and badly needs to be reformed.  Our country is a nation of immigrants, and people coming to the United States in search of a better life is what our country was built upon.  They have come from Europe and Asia, and now many come from Latin America.  I believe that no person is illegal, and the United States should offer all immigrants a path to citizenship, a way to allow everyone some ownership in their adopted country, no matter how they get here.

SDS was getting together once again, this time in a “Funk Borders Bloc”, which was announced on Facebook ahead of time.  Let’s admit – as corporate as Facebook might be, it certainly is a valuable tool for organizing.  The Funk Borders Bloc would meet at 1:00 PM at Camp Out Now, an anti-war encampment established by Cindy Sheehan on the National Mall at roughly 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

The Funk Borders Bloc was described as such:

Join Funk the War and DC Anti-imperialist friends to march in style at the March 21 March for Immigrant Families. Meet-up 1pm @ Camp OUT NOW! on the North lawn of the Washington Monument (15th St NW & Constitution Ave). Nearby metro stations are Smithsonian and Metro Center.

SATURDAY March 20, 7pm after the free Food Not Bombs dinner at Camp OUT NOW! join the crew to make signs and props for the next day.

the FUNK BORDERS BLOC…
is a radical dance-driven mob including the DC Funk the War Organizing Project (students and youth from across the DC-area), DCSDS, and friends.

No More Borders!
Borders are a tool of the modern corporate capitalist state that prevent the free movement of normal people, containing us for exploitation and separating families, whilst allowing the free movement of the corporate citizens who are wrecking our planet.

the ROOT CAUSES BLOC…
is an assembly of folks organizing against corporate imperialism, the root cause of the war, labor, and environmental refugee crises that force people to leave their homes for survival.

http://dc-sds.org/
http://reformimmigrationforamerica.org/

So I got going at around 10:30 or so, and caught Rohr 1150 from Glenmont to Metro Center.  I had to go down through the lower level to get to the exit I needed to use (12th and F), and so I figured if a Blue Line train to Largo or an Orange Line train to New Carrollton was coming, I’d take that to Federal Triangle and save some of the walking.  And as luck would have it, an Orange Line train came in as I was going down the escalator, and so I hopped on Breda 3021 for the short ride to Federal Triangle.

Coming out of Federal Triangle, I went into the Reagan Building in search of a restroom.  Going through their airport-style security checkpoint, the person working the x-ray scanner found something interesting in my bag.  They asked me, “Do you have batteries?”  I turned the bag over and pointed to them.  When I use the backpack, you see, I keep the camera’s batteries in a mesh pocket on the front for ease of access.  Once that was cleared up, I got directions to the men’s room that I was looking for.

Leaving the men’s room, I knew I needed to go out a different way than I came in because of where I was going.  Why go out and then around the building when you can just go through it, after all?  Seemed to make sense to me.  Of course, coming out of the men’s room, I found myself a bit disoriented in the building’s maze of corridors.  I ended up having to get help from a security guard at a different checkpoint to find my way out of the building via its west side.

Once out of the Reagan Building, I quickly located Camp Out Now, and spotted a few SDS-ers.  I was early, and so there was plenty of time to kind of hang out for a bit.  As other SDS-ers arrived, much of the discussion was about the effort to be out of St. Stephen’s Church, where many of the Rochester folks stayed while in DC, by the 8:00 deadline imposed by the church.  St. Stephen’s is awesome for housing so many left-wing groups and offering meeting space, but they still need their space back on Sunday morning so that they can have church.

One of the things that the group did early on was help the Camp Out Now folks dismantle the Iraq Memorial to Life, a display of markers for Iraqis killed as a result of the Iraq War.  When a few folks questioned why the display needed to come down, the Camp Out Now folks explained that the whole display was going to Ohio that night, and so it needed to be taken down in Washington in order to be prepared for transportation.  And so the SDS-ers helped remove the markers, placing them all into piles.


The Iraq Memorial to Life, at the foot of the Washington Monument.

The Iraq Memorial to Life, at the foot of the Washington Monument.


 

 


SDS helps dismantle the Iraq Memorial for Life display.  SDS helps dismantle the Iraq Memorial for Life display.

SDS helps dismantle the Iraq Memorial for Life display.

SDS helps dismantle the Iraq Memorial for Life display.  SDS helps dismantle the Iraq Memorial for Life display.


Camp Out Now, where we hung out until the equipment arrived, and the March for America began.  Camp Out Now, where we hung out until the equipment arrived, and the March for America began.

Camp Out Now, where we hung out until the equipment arrived, and the March for America began.


The world's nastiest port-a-potties, having gone a wee bit too long between servicings.  Thank goodness that men don't actually have to touch any of the hardware to use the facilities.

The world’s nastiest port-a-potties, having gone a wee bit too long between servicings.  Thank goodness that men don’t actually have to touch any of the hardware to use the facilities.


After this, and a bit more hanging around, the sound system showed up, as did signs and signmaking materials.  The signs were left over from Funk the War two days before, and, in fact, had “Funk The War” and “War is Bad Romance” written along the lower edge.


The signs have arrived!

The signs have arrived!


Putting messages on the Funk the War signs.  Putting messages on the Funk the War signs.

Putting messages on the Funk the War signs.

Putting messages on the Funk the War signs.  Putting messages on the Funk the War signs.


Making our large out-in-front banner.  Translated, the banner reads, "Without borders, without states, we are free."  Making our large out-in-front banner.  Translated, the banner reads, "Without borders, without states, we are free."

Making our large out-in-front banner.  Translated, the banner reads, “Without borders, without states, we are free.”

Making our large out-in-front banner.  Translated, the banner reads, "Without borders, without states, we are free."  Making our large out-in-front banner.  Translated, the banner reads, "Without borders, without states, we are free."


The banner is complete!

The banner is complete!


More of the signs we created.  More of the signs we created.

More of the signs we created.


One participant decorated her feet with the words "FUNK RACISM".

One participant decorated her feet with the words “FUNK RACISM”.


Other groups head to the site of the March for America, while SDS looks on.

Other groups head to the site of the March for America, while SDS looks on.

Other groups head to the site of the March for America, while SDS looks on.


Before we left, I got Amber to pose for some photos with a flower.  They didn't turn out all that well, but they were fun to do.  Before we left, I got Amber to pose for some photos with a flower.  They didn't turn out all that well, but they were fun to do.

Before we left, I got Amber to pose for some photos with a flower.  They didn’t turn out all that well, but they were fun to do.


After the signmaking session, we were at last on our way.  The sound system was on, the big banner was out, and we headed east, towards the Capitol.  We kept to the sidewalks, and followed Constitution Avenue to 12th Street NW.  There, we turned south, and followed a sidewalk going between the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History.


At last, we are underway!

At last, we are underway!


I shot this photo as we were leaving Camp Out Now, and in looking at it, I thought it kind of resembled a modern version of the 1960s-era "flower child".

I shot this photo as we were leaving Camp Out Now, and in looking at it, I thought it kind of resembled a modern version of the 1960s-era “flower child“.


Cutting holes in our banner to allow the wind to pass through.  This makes the banner far easier to handle, since it gives the wind a way to get past without putting as much pressure on the banner, making it harder for it to blow away.  Cutting holes in our banner to allow the wind to pass through.  This makes the banner far easier to handle, since it gives the wind a way to get past without putting as much pressure on the banner, making it harder for it to blow away.

Cutting holes in our banner to allow the wind to pass through.  This makes the banner far easier to handle, since it gives the wind a way to get past without putting as much pressure on the banner, making it harder for it to blow away.


And now we're ready to go!

And now we’re ready to go!

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7 – Part 8

Part 6