Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day: The Circle of protest grows

Memorial Day. It’s a day for doing work around the house. Yard work. Back home it was the day the swimming pools opened. Danielle and I are at the office, preparing for the week ahead. 
One last renegade pigeon is in the narthex, sitting above the closed door. I open the doors wide, try to shoo the bird out. In typical bird fashion, the pigeon flies back and forth through the narthex, from south to north and back again, completely missing the double open doors a few inches away. Back and forth, back and forth. I use a broom to try and direct the bird. Danielle tries the drum trick. He goes to the floor and sneaks his way back into the tower where I won’t pursue him. The bird’s behavior would be less annoying if it didn’t remind me so much of human behavior. The back and forth, doing the same pointless thing over and over to exhaustion,  missing the open door, the obvious way out, the clear solution. 
Outside, the shopping cart from yesterday has grown into two. One filled with brooms, dust pans etc. and the other with bottles and cans. Now attached to our scaffolding with a chain and bicycle lock. This has got to go. I place a sign on the carts warning that if not removed, we’ll call the police to cut the chain and remove it. 
Danielle’s parents have arrived in the city for a visit. I’ve got work at home to get to. Time to lock up. 
On the way home, back up Columbus, I see Hope waiting for some other pickets in front of Dominos. Soon they have arrived. Very quietly, an exciting movement is growing step by step, restaurant by restaurant. The Chinese and Mexican service workers have found each other and are building an ever stronger  coalition of solidarity. Formerly intimidated immigrant workers, emboldened by the action of others, are beginning to speak up. And as the rejection of sweatshop practices spreads, so do the number of businesses signing the fair labor pledge. The dream of creating a sweatshop free zone in our neighborhood moves closer to reality.  It all began with the Saigon Grill workers. The circle of protest grows. 

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