Comments about our demo on Jefferson Ave. & Bartlett St.

Here are some comments from folks who were on the corner of Jefferson Ave. & Bartlett St. on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013

If you have comments please add them in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

It was refreshing to work an honest to goodness hood instead of standing in front of a Jefferson & Bartlett 1silent, and mostly empty mausoleum. I also think that, more than ourselves, these are folk who “get it.” They may not know all the twists and turns of policy or whatever, but the do know what it feels like to get screwed. I imagine that the energy for really significant protest lies in the hood, since by in large for us a serious crunch is something we worry about in the bye and bye rather than the here and now.

My interest in the BoR org and our actions has always been predicated on the focus on the part of the banks. There are so many issues that dovetail with this that it becomes difficult to hold our focus on the banks. But I do not feel that moving into the hood adversely affects our focus. That is still what we choose it to be and I hope we can maintain a focus on the part the banks have played.

🙂 mike

I was giving a flyer to a Lil20130923young man passing me to cross the street as I held my sign “LIVING WAGE JOBS NOT MORE WARS,” and he asked “Is this about a job?” And with some exasperation, “It’s not about a job?” I said “no, I’m sorry I can’t help you with that.” How will that flyer and our presence help him, who needs a job now, and will he even read it? I also wish we at least had quotes from MLK on the flyer.
I wonder again what goal we are trying to achieve in a neighborhood that experiences so much violence with all of the shootings/killings, police brutality, lack of jobs, lack of education, home foreclosures, lack of food, soon to be lack of food stamps, and other resources. And, if we continue to be in poor neighborhoods we should make sure our signs/posters are more appropriate.


We were glad to be in a neighborhood and away from the banks. Two years of raising a protest at the closed and sometimes locked doors of our local bastions of inequality and greed was something to be proud of but we need to be talking with the rest of the city. The whole country is beginning to see more and more people in the streets protesting numerous issues and voicing their discontent with our failing democracy. The numbers of people and the frequency of protest must increase. Our presence in the neighborhoods all over Rochester will spread the courage for others to join the protest. We may not agree within our tribe that this is important but we definitely are not appearing as organizers or “do-gooders” we are simply getting to know our neighbors, listening to their fears and struggles, sharing our own frustrations and (if asked) our knowledge, and bearing witness to our convictions that we have a right to demand an end to the inequality of opportunity that is causing intense suffering for more and more people all over the country.Mike20130923

One of the problems that we are facing in this country is the alienation of people from each other. Family members no longer live in the same city; many people no longer know their neighbors and make no effort to become acquainted; many people are afraid to go into other people’s neighborhoods. There is too much fear and too much competition generated by the media and the corporative advertisements. We come from an evolutionary history of tribalism. Most of us no longer have a tribe. The growing number of families and individuals that are on the brink of poverty and the growing number of people who are fearful that their progeny are facing incredible crises need to become a tribe again and help each other fight for a return to sanity. We are much more powerful than the 1%.


I had a similar experience as Jo; might have been the same man.Another young man asked me how his SSI could be raised. Some folks seemed to think that we were in a position to actually make something happen, in the short term. The fact that we are all white and none of us is poor suggests perhaps to some individuals that we have access or leverage they do not have. How do we disabuse those individuals of this assumption while still encouraging their participation in making change happen, in the long run? Of course others we met appreciate that we’re delivering our messages while at the same time soliciting their own views. and asking them to join us. But for so many the needs there are so immediate and raw and palpable, I share Jo’s bewilderment about what exactly we’re trying to achieve.


8 thoughts on “Comments about our demo on Jefferson Ave. & Bartlett St.

  1. Folks may not see the point of a demonstration unless it is tied to an action. “Is this about jobs?” was a perfect example. Protests at banks with signs to “Move your money” is another. I understand the idea of letting their voices be heard is a good one, but what will be done with those voices that will have an outcome? Maybe voter registration, maybe directing folks to a local organization where they can join with others in an active way, maybe asking them to sign a petition, even. Going into the neighborhood has confirmed what we knew, I think. Jobs, assistance, an opportunity for a better life. With what has been learned from the input of the neighborhood, can BOR help educate neighbors about obtaining some power, and would they be receptive? Someone made a good suggestion : connecting with local groups.

  2. I’m not sure that trouble avoidable. I have a question, and I realize I have not (yet) been at a BoR event: When a predominantly white group shows up in a predominantly A-A hood. it should really have an “intro” from some grassroots group in that neighborhood, rather than just showing up…Ideally, the outside group and the inside group should be in alliance, and members of both groups should be obvious on the street….And, not that we should get weighed down with this, lest we be taken for white do-gooders (God forfend!), but it wouldn’t hurt to have some information handy on the FAQs that people have…. Just some thoughts….

  3. I rarely comment here, but I want to support Ron here. I think those of us who benefit from white privilege tend to forget that we are often seen as outsiders in these neighborhoods. We should take steps to ensure that we are truly welcome, and not see as invaders by neighbors who may have no idea of what’s going on.


  4. Pingback: » Monday Demo Sept. 30th at Noon on Jefferson Ave. & Bartlett St. Band of Rebels

  5. When you live a day to day survival life, your experience is far different from the comfort zone so many of BofR`s live in. Yes, we need to stand up for justice and confront the oppressors and dehumanizers. Sometimes when you live on the edge, there isn`t much room and energy (and often lack of hope) for confronting the controllers who hold the reigns of power. And how do we personally and as a group directly confront those who had a mockery of democracy and shattered the human contract? To the extent that we can, we should try to interact with those in “power” who can help implement the changes that are needed. At least I need to do of that.


  6. Dear Friends,
    After re-reading the comments posted after our first demo at Jefferson and Bartlett and listening to some comments when we were at Thurston and Chili yesterday, I believe that the Band of Rebels should return to addressing the powerful (banks, politicians, etc.).

    Comments on the web page and in discussion show that we are confused about our message in the neighborhoods and uncomfortable on these corners because we do not have any thing to offer. When someone needs a job or day care, what do we say, Organize? Go to Rochester Works? As the Band of Rebels we have nothing to offer. It is not the same as when we support Take Back the Land, who do have something to offer. The Band of Rebels, I think, was born from our outrage at the financial, corporate, and political elite that have systematically undermined the power of the middle and lower classes and threaten the most important social programs we have. We need to keep expressing our outrage to people in power.

    The turnout is lower since we switched to neighborhoods from banks and the Fed. Building. I also think we have less enthusiasm and I fear our numbers will decline further.

    Perhaps we need to rethink our message and our specific tactics, but I personally would like to return to the attack on power.

    Please let me know what you think.

    In solidarity

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