As I dropped students off at their dorms and watched to be sure the doors were still unlocked in the wee hours of Saturday the 12th of April, after a day that began at 3:45 a.m. the previous day and involved 10 hours of sitting on a coach bus, 3 hours of a speakers' panel, 60+ NYC blocks on foot, 3 hours of chanting slogans that were maddeningly imprecise at blank facades of buildings, I wondered why I do this and whether 17 Get On The Bus Days might be enough for one Amnesty faculty sponsor's career. But: one of those speakers we heard was J.S. Tissainayagam, on whose we behalf most of these same students had protested a couple of years ago. And although they still looked drained, Max Clary and Kenny Navedo asked if Amnesty was meeting on Monday evening, and Max gave a morning meeting presentation the first day back on child trafficking in India, and Dong Min says he finds passion in this work, and younger students turn out to help sign letters. Ultimately I hope that the experience of identifying an injustice, coming together with others to find direct and creative ways of publicizing the situation, working to finance the work, actually carrying it out and earning results will carry over into pother realms in students' lives as well. And so, I feel it is all too likely that next April, I will again find myself on the bus in the dark on both ends of a day spent tromping the streets of New York City to give students the experience of direct action.
If you are interested in the cases this year's protest was devoted to, here is a link to the site:
http://www.gotb.org/speakers-panel.html. Actions are also available.