If You Attend Comic Conventions but Wont Attend Political Activities, There Is a Problem

I wanted to answer some of the questions others might have about being politically active with the intention of encouraging others to also take a stand. The reason for this is because we live in such trying times and yet I see so little being done about it. Meanwhile, we prepare ourselves to spend months making costumes, hauling camera equipment, waiting in long lines in the hot sun, and then walking miles over the course of a weekend at pop culture conventions.

Yet when marches, protests, and rallies, try to get folks to participate to help give a bigger voice to a cause that could make a real change in our community, people tend to look the other way.

I was the same way for a long time, thinking that by making a snarky comment on Facebook and sharing an article was enough. As though that helped the Black Lives Matter cause, helped the LGBTQ community obtain equal rights, etc. Then would turn around and dedicate six hours a week on World of Warcraft, and even more writing passion pieces on why folks should watch a particular anime series.

But everything changed in the year 2016 when I was so devastated by President Trump’s election victory that I felt compelled to take a stand. So I found any and all events that supported my beliefs and just threw myself into the mix. In that year I attended a counter-protest showing support for Planned Parenthood, an LGBTQ rally, and protested President Trump coming to Arizona to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Here is what I learned:

 

How

The hardest part was finding the groups or events for the topics you care about. You can expect events to form following a major issue but rallies and protests are always going on in your community. I’ve found searching Facebook for keywords will result in what you are looking for. When you do find it, be sure to look at the previous group posts, how many folks have said they are attending, rules for what you can and can not do etc.

After you know the time and place, just go with a charged cellphone, water, and snacks. You aren’t required to make a sign or wear anything particular. You just need to be there.

What Happens

pro·test
noun
/ˈprōˌtest/
  1. 1.
    a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.

When you arrive at the event, you’ll find two distinct groups representing the opposing opinions. During my first ever event, I accidentally went to the wrong side and when I realized it, I was terrified of that others would think. However, I found that a majority of attendees were kind. They were not there to inflict harm or disrespect others, they were there to voice their concerns as a group to convey their message.

The organizers of the event will help guide chants, remind folks of the rules, and supply water. Voices will rise and shouting will begin, preaching the opinions and reasoning behind them. All you do is help out and contribute to show that your opinion is shared by many.

During almost every single event I have attended there have been folks from both sides who go too far, which is unfortunate. One woman who held Pro-Life beliefs drove past us in her car throwing a gas station super sized cup of coke while screaming obscenities and racial slurs. At the Trump protest folks from the protest threw empty water bottles at the Trump supporters trying to start a fight. Tensions immediately spike but thankfully both sides have folks who are sound of mind and scold the offenders. Then as quickly as they came, they are removed.

Why Should You Do This?

We are the strongest of our generation and it is our duty to fight for whatever we believe will benefit our community as a whole. We can’t live our entire lives in anime, comics, Tik Tok, or conventions. We need to not only stay informed with what is happening around us and then take action.

If we can spend countless hours making a replica of some fantasy weapon then stand in line for hours for a convention badge then we can take the time to find and attend a protest or rally in person. If we don’t then we send a message to the opposing party and politicians that the current situation is good enough. All of our snarky comments and well-worded paragraphs on deleted posts wont mean anything.

We need to take a stand. Especially since those who fought so hard for so long have earned their time to rest and we need to step in.

 

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