Yesterday, we got to introduce a new form of protest against the Charter Change of Gloria. On the heels of her minions' declaration of a new push toward changing our Constitution to fit their nefarious agenda, we protested through "KICK Con-ASS! I WANNA VOTE!", on the stretch of Paseo de Roxas between Ayala and Makati Avenues in Makati. Instead of a march or rally of grim and determined faces, we mounted a lighthearted and relaxed street fair, combining forum, bazaar, and musical concert ideas.
What fun! We began with a parade up the street as Bgy. Poblacion's drum and lyre corps played while Chiz Escudero led the way. The PUP Pep Squad performed their acrobatic moves to get us all energized. The fora began soon after, lots of interested folk surrounded our resource persons. Former VP Tito Guingona, Senator Serge Osmena, Representatives Noynoy Aquino, Neric Acosta, Alan Peter Cayetano and Chiz Escudero, Mayor Jojo Binay, RC Constantino, Conrad de Quiros, Pen Medina, Josie Lichauco, Dinky Soliman, and our lead convenor Enteng Romano were more than happy to engage the people. The discussions were intense, the questions direct and to the point, the answers honest and insightful. Many people came away fortified with the knowledge that their distrust and doubt about this version of Charter Change, as well as the rule of GMA, were justified.
The First Time Voters Project did not disappoint. The youth were there in force, giving out information on the power of the vote and how the youth can change their political world through elections. Even the spokesperson of the COMELEC, James Jimenez, was there with his information team, to explain the mechanics of registration to anyone who asked. Thanks to our visitors, they didn't get much "down" time.
Scattered among the tents were vendors that sold food (shawarma, bibingka, squid and fish balls, to name a few), dry goods like handicrafts and tee shirts, and one table was manned by a massage group that gave them for free! Our BnW Katipunan arm presented a street tableau - drop a coin in the basket, and the "mannequins" would move. They came away with a wealth in coins!
Our interactive offering was a "Graffiti Wall" that was actually put on the ground so people could step on it and write whatever they wanted. The comments were decidedly severe. No wonder the Palace pooh poohs the surveys, the truth really hurts.
To cap the affair, we had a mini concert at sundown that featured cool Cookie Chua (Color It Red), Akbayan's Crazy as Pinoy and Reggae Mistress, school band Village Idiots, up and coming rock band Paramita, and the great Dong Abay. Their wonderful music eased our tiredness and gave us all a second wind. We cannot thank these talented musicians enough for gifting us with their music.
In the end, we believe that we kicked Con-Ass good via this unprecedented creative protest. There were no cops to disperse us with truncheons and water cannon despite the deadly serious subject matter - the political future of our country. There was no anger, only joy at being able to enlighten through a different and more acceptable activity. We hope you will find time to join us at the next mounting of "KICK Con-ASS! I WANNA VOTE!".
Here's a link to our photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blacknwhitemovement/