The various social justice actions we covered during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) represented just a fraction of the activist groundswell hitting Philadelphia streets this week. While many of the bigger protests specifically criticized Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and promoted Bernie Sanders’ populist platform, everyday Philadelphians—grassroots organizers, working-class laborers and artists among them—used the national spotlight to transcend presidential politics. Here are some from throughout the week:
Local immigration justice and Latinx organizers working with the national #Not1More campaign marched on Monday (July 25) to demand Clinton and the Democratic Party adequately counter Republican candidate Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric by halting deportations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expansion. The march also featured an appearance from Laura Cáceres, the daughter of slain Honduran indigenous and environmental justice activist Berta Cáceres.
The Philly Ride Fair coalition, made up of mainly Black and Brown cab, limousine and ride share drivers, picketed Uber’s delegate reception Monday night. The coalition lead previous protests against the company’s marginalization of cab drivers and policies they say threaten drivers’ livelihood while discriminating against passengers with physical disabilities. ”Uber is attempting to buy and bribe the political process so the multi-billion dollar company can get away with refusing to pay the minimum wage, stop workers from unionizing and refuse to offer service to the disabled,” said Taxi Workers Alliance President Ronald Blount in a statement sent to Colorlines.
Philadelphia members of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a group that teaches and trains White people to dismantle structural racism, hung a banner reading “White People Say: Black Lives Matter” from a bridge over the I-676 highway on Wednesday (July 27). They chose that location—which Minnesota delegates had to travel to get to the convention downtown—in honor of Philando Castile. ”We wanted to appeal to many [W]hite viewers’ anti-racist instincts by inviting them to join us as allies to [B]lack and [B]rown people fighting for their own liberation,” said SURJ member Rebecca Subar in a statement emailed to Colorlines. “The struggle against the inequities and injustices of our system doesn’t belong only to those on the bottom rungs. We’re part of that system too, and we’re speaking for ourselves, not for [B]lack people, when we remind citizens and leaders that the legacy of slavery persists and that its time is up.”
Sunny Singh, a local artist, made a statement against ”us-vs.-them” rhetoric dominating many Democratic Party appeals by painting “Democracy has been hijacked” on his rooftop. The painting uses the ”H”and arrow from Clinton’s logo to spell ”hijacked.” Singh also displayed a video about his message, which was derived from remarks that Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha made at a rally outside the 2000 DNC. ”In this particular cycle, the vast majority of neo-liberals seem to feel that Clinton is ideal simply because Trump is so flagrantly vile,” said Singh in a statement emailed to Colorlines. “Her dishonesty, her likening of African-American men to ‘superpredators,” [her] support of her husband’s crime legislation that resulted in a massive increase in [B]lack incarceration and her track record of fluctuating with the breeze on sociopolitical stances like gay rights are all things that cannot be ignored when we’re forced to elect her ‘at all costs.’ The question not being discussed enough is: who ultimately pays that cost?”
Did we miss any protests you attended during the DNC? Let us know in the comments.