I wanted to express my appreciation for getting to work with all you fine folks at IMC, and I would like to share with you a bit of my own, personal experience.
A message to all the fine folks at the IMC
A message for all the fine people who gave their time to the Independent Media Center before, during, and after the Democratic National Convention, August 14-17, 2000.
First of all, I want to give a loud shout out to all of you. You, who were able to recognize the importance of donating your time, your talents, and your efforts, for such meaningful causes. You, who could find more value in your long hours of work than a mere paycheck could justify. For, there is no value higher than humanity and, the ability to understand this truth far exceeds that of personal gain.
My name is Rob Morie and I, too, was there trying to do my part amidst the hustle and confusion. You might remember me as Rob, or you might just remember me as the guy in the rasta hat with the "sure you can trust your government, just ask any Indian" t-shirt. Or, maybe you don't remember me at all, but no matter. I shall continue to face the sun whether I cast a shadow or not.
For now, I would like to cast upon you a short moment that really stuck out in my mind; More than the rally to save the Iraqi Children, (which brought tears to my eyes), more than being caught up in the middle of intense police interventions, (where one of our own people got run over by a bike cop), even more than the Sweatshop Workers / Immigrants rally and march (the funkiest, most dope-smokin'-ist, good time protest I've ever been to), was a single, uneventful matter of three or four minutes witnessed by myself alone.
On the way out to the Sweatshop Workers' rally on Thursday, August 17, (also the ninth wedding anniversary of my wife, Nancy, and I), I passed a homeless man on the sidewalk outside of the Staples Center. Hispanic, appearing to be in his mid-twenties, he stood there with his hands together in prayer, crying. I approached him.
"Hello, sir." He said, "I am homeless." Though his tears did not permit it, I knew he had more to say.
"Are you okay?" I asked him. He did not respond. I proceeded to explain to him that these people, the protesters, the people carrying signs, were there for him. I said, "These people are here from all over the world because they care for you and for all people who suffer from misfortunes."
The man gripped his praying hands tightly, unable to make out his feelings in words but I knew. There was a time when my wife and I were homeless with two children and a third on the way. Many of my friends have been homeless and to this day, many of them remain one short step away from going back onto the streets. I looked up to the Staples Center and my stomach turned. Why does this have to be? Why must this man stand here, stripped of all dignity?
Now, this is the part where my reluctance steps in. I don't want to toot my own horn, so to speak, but I cannot continue this story without making it sound as though I do.
After a few trips on the Blue and Red Line that day, I had a mere fifty cents to my name. I wanted to help this man, to help take his mind off his pain and misfortune.
"Here," I told him, handing him my bottle of water, "Please take this."
"I do not want to take from you, sir." the man said.
"Please," I responded, "I want you to have this. It's very hot and I do not want you to get heat stroke out here. It is very important to me that you have this. Take it, please."
He reluctantly took the bottle of water and thanked me. I didn't feel that I deserved the thanks.
I was soon on my way again, bitter at the sight of the Staples Center and all the people coming and going from within. It makes me sick when they say they want a better America but do whatever they can to avoid the people whose lives really need help. Every time I see a golf course or a wal-mart parking lot, it puts a bitter taste in my mouth to imagine how all that wasted land could be used to benefit the homeless.
I was ashamed; ashamed of myself and ashamed of my country, and given a much better appreciation of the flag burning I'd witnessed the day before. When an American flag is burned, it represents a sort of retribution for all the people who have been burned by the corporate government and all it's greed. It does not say "we hate America". I love America and will always stand by my fellow American, even if I am labeled by some as an upstart for caring enough to criticize it. For, I have always believed in the Korean War motto, "FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!" We have just begun to pay the price, and we should not be afraid to march forward en route to a better tomorrow for every one of our Mother Earth's children.
In closing, let me just say this:
Before I moved to L.A. a few weeks ago, I lived in a low-income area in southern Wisconsin where hopelessness and apathy towards these issues ran amok. Coming here and working with the IMC has been one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. I implore you all, Please don't let this end. When you all go home to your respective cities and countries, don't forget why you were here, and don't assume that there's enough being done without you. Most of all, don't let me slip back into my apathetic shell of hopelessness. email me, Visit my web page, drop me a line. I love you all; You are a bright beacon of hope in such darkened times. Okay, enough with the stoopid metaphors. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Peace, Love, and POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
LE ESTOY MUY AGRADECIDO
-Rob "Jack Of Slack" Morie
Original: TO ALL THE GREAT FOLKS AT IMC