Camp Casey Detroit--Day 8
It was a lovely sunny warm day down at Camp Casey Detroit. Paul Pearson took the opportunity to catch some rays, while Norm Clark covered himself in sunblock. The more time we spend together, the more we see our uniqueness. Each and every one of us wants to bring the troops home now, but beyond that we have our individual ways of looking at things. That makes our conversations--of which we have plenty--all the more interesting.
When I arrived about 2:30 PM, Abayomi Azikiwe, Pat Lent, Charles Brown, Norm Clark, Paul and Willie were there. While we sat and ate the sandwiches I'd brought, we shared stories of how and when we'd become politically aware and active.
For Abayomi, it started back when he was a child in Tennessee. His parents were active in the Civil Rights movement and frequently hosted meetings at their home. Abayomi said that students and activists from the north often stayed at their house. The family moved up to Detroit when Abayomi was ten, the year after Detroit's rebellion in 1967. He said his parents became active in the city's struggles right from the beginning. And although Abayomi's university degrees were in education and political science, soon after graduating he found himself working as a journalist and editor for a number of politically-aware organizations and newspapers. In the 1980s, he gravitated to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and made three trips there during the height of the oppression. He's been connected with Wayne State University for 17 years, teaches in the Urban Studies department there, and has published the Pan-African News Wire for many years, first in hard copy and lately, online. He has spent at least 8 hours a day at Camp Casey Detroit since it opened a week ago. He has also composed and sent out all our news releases.
So that gives you an idea of who sits at our tables in Grand Circus Park! And each person has a story to tell, with surprising twists that most of us have never heard before. How I value this time of being able to hang out together with no deadlines, no distractions, no agendas. After years of demonstrating, marching, organizing and meeting together, never before have we had the time to simply sit and shoot the breeze (photos #1, #2, #3, & #4). Such a gift.
Another gift was the fact that Monday Night Football was being televised from Detroit's Ford Field tonight. Not that I give a darn about football, but it meant that 50,000 fans would be coming down to our neighborhood, some of whom would be walking by Camp Casey Detroit on their way to the stadium. But I decided to take it a step further and scoot the three blocks over to Ford Field myself with a MECAWI sign that said, "Bring the Troops Home Now!" on one side, and "Money For Our Cities, Not War" on the other.
What an interesting experience! There were thousands of people milling around out front, drinking at the outdoor bar at the corner, and lots more waiting in long lines to get into the stadium. So I just scooted up and down the street beside the stadium over and over, holding my sign high in the air. The response was mixed, but I'd say it was at least 6-1 in favor of my signs and against the war. In addition to lots of thumbs up, peace signs, nods and "You're right on!" type of comments, I also heard at least three voices call out, "Get a job!", one say, "You should be ashamed of yourself. Why don't you go to Russia?," and another say, "Go to Texas!" My favorite was a disembodied voice saying, "Is she Cindy Sheehan?"
When I got back to Camp Casey Detroit, it was about 8:30 PM and getting dark. But there were still about ten people hanging around talking. It is definitely THE place to be in Detroit!