To the Courageous Citizens of Portland-
My name is Jenni and I attend a small university in Rock Hill,SC. It has been a long week of protesting here. Sometimes I am the only person to show up (but, then, no one ever shows up to formally protest in support of the war.)Fortunately, I am beginning to find some solidarity with my close neighbors in Charlotte, NC. Still our numbers are small in comparison to other parts of the country and as I talked to many of my new friends tonight as we gathered on a sidewalk in downtown Charlotte, I found that we all have often felt discouraged by low turnouts and lack of interest in organization. But then I thought about Portland and I told them of my visit to the city last week (specifically March 15.) To talk about holding down a bridge, blocking traffic, or being able to view marches for blocks and blocks ahead and behind, enlivened us all. (It would not be until 12am EST that I would hear of the events currently unfolding in the city.) It was my experience in Portland (not only with protesters but with police as well)that led me to explore my feelings about radicalism and to seek others here who shared a common willingness to "up the antee" (i have no clue how to spell that word,) non-violently, in the name of the people and our call for peace. What I have found here is that it doesn't really take much to freak out the cops in NC. Thirty people remaining on a sidewalk while chanting the words "Rise Up" was enough to have ten more cops called to the scene, including one in a car who drove by slowly as he filmed each of us with a camcorder. (more amusing than anything else.) I still long for the day we can bring together enough people to stop traffic, but I no longer feel as emotionally exhausted and alone in my efforts.
News of what you, the citizens of Portland, have and continue to accomplish is just now reaching the East Coast. Know that the nation is watching and that the powerful statement made by your efforts is being felt much further than the Portland city limits. Two thousand-two hundred and ninety miles a way the will of a small activist community is strengthened by your determination and together we stand with you in solidarity. I promise to spread the word.
Stand strong Portland. Know that as you occupy your city, you have restored the will of the people. Find strength in your convictions, for tonight you exercise exactly the kind of freedom and patriotism that Bush, Ashcroft and their cohorts have tried to steal from the American people by stifling them with talk of terrorist attacks and war.
Thank you Portland! Take care of each other tonight. It's never too late.
- Jenni B. Rock Hill, SC
PS- To the high school students I marched with early last Saturday afternoon, Rock the f*ck on!!Your dedication and strength of spirit was absolutely contagious. Rock the f*ck on and Thanks! - Jenni B.