V For Vocalizing
(C) 2013 Luke T. Bush
PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY - Saturday 11/2/13
The line-up of handmade cardboard signs across the street caught my attention. Another demonstration site was set up in Trinity Park. I noticed a solitary activist holding a rainbow-mosaic umbrella as she waited for others to show up.
I took some shots. Intrigued, I crossed the street, not worried about jaywalking or traffic. City Hall Place was blocked off for the local First Weekend events. Yesterday was sunny but the high winds interfered with the activities. Today interference was being provided by gray skies, rain, and cool temps.
I spoke with the alone-so-far activist, Rachael Chrestler. She explained that she was participating in an international campaign called "March Against Corruption."
According to the March Against Corruption Website the campaign was "a worldwide effort to eradicate the corrupting influence of money and special interests in public policy making."
As I scribbled some notes Rachael said that too many citizens are intimated, afraid to speak out on issues. For example a mother with her child had walked by a while ago, the mother expressing disapproval towards the demonstration.
While Rachael was too young to vote when President Obama was first elected, she did support the policies that he had been espousing. But that support changed when there was talk about direct US involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Using the Internet she found information that caused her to question the president's other policies such as allowing the NSA (National Security Agency) to invade the privacy of many citizens through its massive telephone-Internet spying programs. She thought Obama was a puppet, not an independent leader.
Rachael was also concerned with the talk about FEMA camps, a program that some people say will round up many citizens during civil disturbances under the guise of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Pointing to the peace symbol on one of the signs Rachael said she is trying to promote peaceful change through raising awareness of issues that citizens shouldn't ignore.
Wrapping up the interview I told Rachael I would like to photograph the white mask sitting on the park bench, a stylized plastic image of Guy Fawkes. I recognized it from the graphic novel and movie, "V for Vendetta," an image made popular by the activist group Anonymous.
Instead Rachael offered to pose while wearing the mask. It made an interesting shot, especially with her polychromatic umbrella.
Some time later I wondered if she was aware of the New York State anti-mask law, a topic I had written about before at my blog. If you read the law you will learn that free speech applies to Halloween but not activism.