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5 April 2000
Day 3, 8:30 am
Rise and shine and give God your glory glory. . . or give the administration hell, or whatever. Someone came in around 7 I think and turned the main lights on. We groaned. (Those of us who went to bed about an hour before that were perhaps particularly audible). But now I'm up and awake and raring to go, even with out coffee (yet), though it's coming, along with breakfast courtesy of the Hamburg Inn. They ROCK MY WORLD!
So: this morning's DI reports that the second day was "calmer" than the first and that Mary Sue Coleman feels she's taking a "cautious" position. Our man Ned is right back at her though: "You can't meet halfway on the issue of human rights. There is no middle ground or compromise; you either respect human rights or you don't. At this point, remaining in the labor association is going to allow sweatshop conditions to continue and corporations to be shielded from the discovery of this exploitation." What more is there to say, really?
Various staff folk are walking through, not looking particularly pleased with the situation. Go figure: Mary Sue Coleman gets her private hidden entrance, wherever that is, so she can avoid us and feel safe, while the grunts who work in this building have to deal with us. The whole system--even the architecture--is set up to make it hard to get at the people you really want to.
But back to the DI for a moment--right underneath the picture of the march past Mary Sue's house there's another headline: "City says 'time out' on apparel pending review." Thanks to Steve Kanner, the City's decided to look a little harder at where the clothing it orders comes from and just how it's produced. Quoth Steve, "I thought [UI Students Against Sweatshops] brought up some good points, so I thought we should look into what the city does. The movement empowers the community." The movement empowers the community. That's what it's all about. It's not about divisiveness or trying to alienate people or piss people off--it's about showing that we DO have a say in the way things work. Each person does have a voice, and, as Eddie Moore says, "the choice to watch or interrupt is ours." Or, as Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed in all the flyers put up around campus for Human Rights Week, "It's always the right time to do the right thing." The idea, you see, is that that should apply not just to a week but to all the time. And when you remember that you have that voice, and when you claim it and use it, you realize that the very act of speaking, of interrupting, is a revolution in itself. Telling the truth is always revolutionary, especially in an atmosphere where there is a conspiracy of silence. These halls, and the good old neoclassical architecture of this Pentacrest, echo and reverberate pretty well. Those ripples have reached the city--let's just hope that they are ripples felt round the world.
Okay, enough of the philosophy--you guys probably want to know what's happening, too, huh?
Well, it's 9 am now, and the Breakfast Support, Coffee Support, and Paper Support teams have delivered their goods. Ham and cheese and just cheese sandwiches from the Hamburg Inn (with 2 kinds of mustard to choose from! though actually I'm not a mustard person, but I appreciate the gesture) and coffee from brave souls who went out to fetch it. I am a much happier girl now that I'm armed with some good dark roast. The aroma is itself empowering.
We're planning more teach-ins, more letter-writing, more just plain presence. Holly and I are waiting to hear from our old high school--we might go give some presentations out there today. I'm gonna finish my breakfast and go see about finding a phone line.
It looks like Ned's talking to someone in the Office of the President, or at any rate he's stnading in there and looking impassive. Mary Sue Coleman actually decided to walk through the hall this morning and said good morning. Ann Rhodes just walked through, no comment.
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by Laura Crossett, 1998-2009