JP Observer: Local resistance activities are huge

Starting with ResistARTS performances in JP businesses through the Boston Women’s March the day after the inauguration, local folks, often led by JP people and groups, turned out in droves this month to demonstrate and express their resistance to Donald Trump’s offensive policies, unqualified appointments, and outlandish behavior.

ResistARTS is a new collaboration between Hoopla Productions (Jamaica Plain Porchfest) with Mindy Fried and Marie Ghitman and Wee the People, with Francie Latour and Tanya Nixon-Silberg, that holds participatory and performing arts-based events to foster community building and raise funds for local organizations that empower marginalized people. At First Thursday this month, their performers at J.P. Licks, City Feed and Supply, and On Centre raised money for affordable housing, English for New Bostonians, and Bikes Not Bombs.

All seats were reserved at First Baptist Church JP for JP Progressives’ Forum on Jan. 12 by the morning before. The forum featured leaders from Boston organizations, including NAACP, ACLU, and Planned Parenthood, with the message: “When core progressive principles…are at risk, Jamaica Plain can take action.”

Downtown Boston on Jan. 15 saw two resist events whose audiences, composed of quite a few JP folks, were too large for their venues. At the Boston Public Library, nearly 100 writers waited in the Rabb Lecture Hall foyer for a seat to open up at the Boston session of the national Writers Resist program. A nationally affiliated rally protesting threats to federal health care programs had to move out of Faneuil Hall when 6,000 people showed up to hear Massachusetts senators and representatives speak.

On inauguration eve 700 people joined artists, activists, and community members, including Fried of ResistARTS and JP housing activist Betsaida Gutierrez, in Together We Rise: a Counter-Inaugural Celebration of Resistance at the Strand Theater in Dorchester. That event featured a kickoff procession, a “mobilization fair” with at local activist organizations, and a performance including music, comedy, spoken word, and testimonials from some of the identity groups feeling especially disenfranchised by the election.

It’s hard to know exactly how many JP people were part of the 150,000-plus crowd at the Boston Women’s March for America. What looked like at least a few thousand could be seen streaming to JP’s Orange Line Stations the morning of Jan. 21. They were going to the Boston Common to hear speakers, take the “People’s Oath,” then march though Back Bay. Boston Women’s March was one of more than 600 in the U.S. and around the world. JP resident Mary Wallace was the originator of the Boston March as an easier, less expensive alternative to the original Washington Women’s March.

The Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts and Urbano Project here hosted events where people could make signs to hold at rallies.

Altogether, JP got its reaction to Trump’s inauguration right. Activists and ordinary people bonded, organized, rallied, gathered, offered support, and made strong statements. It’s important to keep our participation positive and action-oriented throughout these trying times.

Local City Councilor Matt O’Malley referred to the Jan. 20 presidential change at the JP Business and Professional Association board meeting Jan. 18. “JP stands united,” he said, “as a loving place for all.”

[Sandra Storey is founder and former publisher and editor of the Jamaica Plain Gazette.]




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