Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Community Organizing, Immigration, Southeast
Alternating between chants in English and Spanish, around 175 youth and their allies joined “For Our Future,” a kid-led rally and unpermitted march today in downtown Asheville, NC. The festive crowd included children as young as four weeks old, with adults constituting a narrow minority.
“Don’t give in to racist fear,
Everyone is welcome here!”
Y no nos vamos,
Y si nos echan,
Today’s march was initiated by two children, age six and nine, as explained in a public social media post by local artist and activist mom Sparrow Pants. “So today’s been really rough, feeling really down about the order to deny all visas from many countries in the Middle East, and the whole border wall BS. I picked my kids up from school, and they asked why I was sad, and I explained. They also got upset, and decided to channel that sorrow into action–they had the idea to have a kids’ protest in Asheville, to gather their friends and make their voices heard.”
During the hour long rally that preceded the short march, Sparrow read off the demands generated by the rad kidos, which included good education, a clean environment, racial equality, welcoming refugees and immigrants, equal rights for girls and women, healthcare, care for disabled folks, and rights for LGBTQ folks. Youth generated signs were emblazoned with both popular resistance slogans and plenty of kid-themed messages (including several shout-outs to Harry Potter’s Dumbledore). Participating adults described themselves as taking a facilitation role, with youth empowered to set the agenda, script the message, and call the shots on the ground.
When the march started thirty minutes early, it was because kids were tired of standing still.
Today’s event benefited from a network of relationships that bridge Asheville’s artistic, anarchist and immigrant communities. Although plans for the march started on January 25th, development expanded to include local latinx activists after it was announced at a January 30th assembly. This assembly kicked off the newly formed 100 Days Coalition / Coalición de 100 Días, a queer and POC-led organizing platform that is intended to counterpose the agenda-setting of the new administration’s first one hundred days. Modeled after the Southern Movement Assembly, the bi-lingual event series has been endorsed by numerous radical and progressive organizations active in Western North Carolina (including Asheville’s eight year old infoshop, Firestorm) and has drawn participation from members of the city’s recently formed anarchist assembly.
As anti-authoritarians, we are heartened to see that this grassroots platform is already generating new relationships and growing our regional capacity to confront racism and violence! Further, today’s centering of youth experience and leadership provided a welcome opportunity to challenge adultism and create a culture of resistance that is welcoming to radical parents and caregivers.
No Borders, No Bedtimes! You’re Not the Boss of Us!