The People’s Carpet – Say Yang

As I walked up the block to Parkway Theater the glowing bright sign caught my attention. It read “VOICES FOR VOTER RIGHTS VOTE NO ON VOTER ID 6:30.”  Below, were countless community members walking the red carpet entrance.  Some were coming over after work or with their kids, some clearly had taken time to dress up, some were there in groups with friends, others strolled in alone.  There were familiar faces and other folks that I’d never met before gathering together posing for the camera to say “Vote NO, on Voter ID.”

In that moment, I realized the red carpet at Parkway Theater on October 11th, 2012, was truly a people’s carpet. In seeing this, a warm smiled came through me as I joined others in the entrance to the theater.

In the lobby area there were countless people engaging and socializing before the start of the event.  There were interviews taking place, volunteers registering voters, and a community table full of materials from various grassroots organizations. The community table was filled with voter registrations, community voter guides, and an abundant amount of literature and materials from other organizations in different languages. Lastly, there was free popcorn distributed by the Parkway Theater for the community as they work their way to be seated inside the theater room.

The theater doors soon closed by 6:30 pm and the beat of the 3rd generation native drum kicks off the Voices for Voting Rights Red Carpet Event. We all turned to our left to acknowledge “Ringing Shield”. I suddenly felt this deep pain in my chest as the sound vibrated through me.  As Wakinyan Lapointe puts it, “Its medicine for the people and the drum is prayer in the Lakota way in honor of life.”  I  felt that we were all truly present in that moment, to stand for democracy and honor the our collective community and struggle as we oppose the voter ID amendment.

If you weren’t there you definitely missed out an awesome full house community event with story sharing, voices for voting rights film screening, and the people’s movement. There were over 300 attendees from several ethnic backgrounds representing what our local community is made up of and this is why I called it “The People’s Red Carpet”.


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