“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
- Desmond Tutu
Vigils in remembrance of murdered Missouri teen Michael Brown took place across the country Thursday night in a nationally coordinated night of action called the National Moment of Silence 2014 (#NMOS14). The Light Brigade Network joined in standing in solidarity with the people of Ferguson.
The biggest action in support of Ferguson happened in New York City. Union Square was packed with protestors , including a group of men from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity who surprised the crowd with their illuminated message.
— Lamar Richardson (@Lamar_Alphonso) August 15, 2014
In Milwaukee, the Overpass Light Brigade wanted to make a public statement decrying Brown’s death and the Ferguson Police’s response. OLB chose a pedestrian overpass bridge that crossed over an I-43 streaming with traffic. So many holders showed up the group held messages on both sides of the bridge.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
More photos from the Overpass Light Brigade can be found here.
Milwaukee, WI - Perhaps those planning anti-immigration overpass protests around the nation should have thought about the fact that the majority of Americans do not support their hate. In Milwaukee they had to find out the hard way.
When I arrived at the original overpass bridge chosen for the Saturday protest I immediately found that it was closed for construction. Counter protestors were already milling about wondering if the protest would be cancelled, as there were no protestors to be seen. The gathered counter protestors collectively decided to change course and simply walk to the nearest busy street corner and hold signs, which they did for about 20 minutes when word came that Anti-immigration protestors were spotted on a different bridge a quarter mile away. Everyone immediately made the move to the new location.
When I pulled up to the Howard Avenue overpass bridge there was a group of about 7 (6 on one side of the street and 1 on the other) holding “No Amnesty” and “Defend Our Borders” signs to traffic passing underneath. Counter protestors had already begun to arrive filling the opposite side of the bridge quickly outnumbering the few protestors present.
Once the opposite side of the bridge filled, several counter protests began making their way to the opposite side of the overpass strategically positioning their “Mr President: Stop the Deportations” banner immediately next to the protestors effectively co-opting the original thrust of the action.
One of the child migrant protestors, upset over the counter protestors’ actions told them to leave his side of the bridge whining that, “they were there first”. The video embedded below captures one of the proud counter protestor’s response.
Pro-immigration groups ended up outnumbering the anti-immigration demonstrators by about 5-to-1, drowning out their hate and sending a message that Wisconsin welcomes immigrant children and rejects the hate of those stalking and harassing migrant children. Apparently the same thing happened on an overpass in Philly. If these so-called “patriots” continue to meet this kind of reaction from everyday Americans perhaps they might think twice about displaying their hate in public for all to see.
Wauwatosa, WI - Last night we visited the Village of Wauwatosa to hold an Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) action to raise visibility about bomb trains running through the area. Minutes before we pulled out the lights for our “OIL TRAIN BLAST ZONE” message an actual bomb train happened to pass through. Thanks to veteran OLB Holder of the Light Jayne Mullins for capturing the moment on video. We edited that footage to make this video about these ticking time bombs chugging through our communities.
Most Americans would want to know if a massive explosion could happen in their backyard. Well, right now “bomb trains” carrying highly flammable Bakken Shale crude are running all over the country, and if you live within a mile of the railroad tracks, then a fireball like the one in the photograph above could become reality for you.
ForestEthics just put out an “Oil Train Blast Zone” map that details the path of these deadly trains, and the expansive swath of blast and evacuation zones. You might be surprised by the routes these trains take, so type your zip code in and see if you are in a blast zone.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, these deadly trains run right past a popular gathering place in the Wauwatosa village. On the evening of July 12, 2014, the Overpass Light Brigade braved pouring rain to let people know that their favorite restaurants and bars lie well within a blast zone, with these explosive payloads passing by multiple times a week.
Communities should not have to bear the risk of catastrophic explosions from Bakken oil. Along with other forms of extreme energy, Bakken crude isn’t worth the risk. We don’t need exploding trains, groundwater turned toxic by fracking, or tar sands pipelines. It’s time to reign in the big oil companies that profit off of these dangerous fossil fuels, and demand clean, renewable alternatives.