Photography By James D’Angelo
Sunday, April 14, was Palm Sunday. The day marks the beginning of Holy Week, likely the most sacred period of the Christian Calendar. I attended services, did my shopping and headed to Leesport, Berks County, Pennsylvania for a vigil at the Berks County Prison. Part of the facility is being used as a detention facility by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, commonly called ICE.
The event drew a good crowd, about 60 people. It was more along the lines of a church service than a rally. Where one would expect cries of “Shut Down Berks” and “No human is illegal” there were instead prayers and hymns.
I don’t know how many of the people there were part of the Sanders campaign. I didn’t ask, but one of the speakers did say she had been with his campaign. But there were two other aspects of the crowd that did concern me.
One was that though the event was in Berks County, it seemed that the two largest groups of people were from Philadelphia; a group of students from St. Joe’s University and a group of students from Cabrini College. I understand that much of #theresistance, like activist movements of the past, is younger people, but a larger presence of people from the community itself would send a stronger message.
The second thing, and the one that bothered me more, was a lack of members of the Latinx community. Of all of the “outgroups” Trump has created, Latinx seem to be the one that he relies on most to rile up the rural reactionaries he relies on for so much of his support. The people in the facility are mostly, if not all, Latinx. Make the Road PA, was listed as a sponsoring group, but I saw little signs of their presence.
Monday, April 15, I voiced some of these concerns to another activist, who took the stance that there were people there. This is true, but I think more folks from the affected community, Berks County, and the Latinx community would have sent a better message.
Not Angry Enough
April 15 seems to be a bad day for me. My Grandfather died that day, there was the Boston Marathon Bombing, and now the day Notre Dame nearly burned to the ground. The battle to save this sacred monument was a bit personal to me. As a high school senior, I had the opportunity to visit the massive cathedral with the foreign language department.
Many of my fellow activists did not seem to share my concern. Several do likely believe in Marx’s notion of religion being the opiate of the masses. Some asked where the concern was about the African-American churches in Louisiana that have been burned. Still others pointed to the environment.
As I read some of the comments on social media, I couldn’t help but wonder if I am angry enough to be an effective activist. Rather than seeing Notre Dame as a relic of darker age, I saw it as a piece of history.
Is it that my anger is misplaced? I kind of lashed out at a fellow activist when she didn’t seem to see the fire the way I did. Of course, we have my well-documented fury at the #BernieOrBust and #DemExit folks, and the rural reactionaries that may have provided Trump his margin of victory in states like Pennsylvania.
Am I glad that Notre Dame seems that it will soon rise from the ashes again, perhaps on Easter Sunday 2024, yes. Might that make some activists angry at me, of course. I seem to be doing that a lot over the last few days though.