I saw a documentary at Sundance called “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin” about a civil rights activist for 50 years and organizer of the famous 1963 civil rights march on Washington. It showed me what we’re doing wrong with our protests now. Here’s some thoughts.
1. Use simple moderate messages. Moderate messages work because without the broad support of the famed American People, not much actually gets done. The civil rights protests were for basic rights and had moderate messages with broad support that was lurking below the surface of the country. The changes asked for were possible for the government to actually do somethinga about.
2. The leadership of the protests wore suits and behaved professionally. It’s not a party. Drugs, rioting and looting should be actively discourgaged.
3. It’s not a concert. Non-violent protests in the style of Ghandi are a somber and serious event.
4. Beynard was invovled in both protests, and later in life, working with LBJs adminstration. During the documentary he said, “Protesting should have no compromise. Politics is all compromise.”