December 4, 1999
Demonstration at the L A Times

I was up at six in the morning. After Morning Prayer, I got on the phone
and called all the L.A. TV News Desks with "breaking news" about our
demonstration. The stations seemed eager for our news. Just before
leaving, the L.A. NBC affiliate called me to get more information, and
he seemed very positive about providing coverage.

I thought I had done everything right. I sent out reminders to all those
who promised to be there. I contacted all media outlets. Dovely (my
right arm) was up all night creating signs. All we had to do was go do
it.

This is where it gets weird. Including myself, there were a grand total
of eight incredibly committed people who showed up and who demonstrated
(sometimes holding two signs at a time). There were large groups who
committed themselves and their Drum to this effort...a large contingent
from San Diego...and many others, who gave us their word, and didn't
show. There's no point in mentioning who these groups were. They know
who they are. The TV crews would be expecting between 30 and 50
demonstrators, according to my calculations. If they did a drive by,
they would have seen just eight dedicated individuals and they would
have kept on driving.

Of course, one could make all kinds of rationalizations. The L.A. Times
Building is a bitch to get to. It is! There's no place to park. Nobody
walks there, everyone is in a car. It isn't close to where anyone lives.
But no...if you hate injustice and suffering, you go anyway. One of our
hardy group drove all the way from Santa Cruz, and if you know
California, you know that she drove a ton to get here. Another came down
from Santa Barbara, another good haul. If you really wanted to end the
suffering...stop the genocide, you would've been there, no matter what.

You don't experience something without learning something in the
process. Today, I learned that if this world ever finds its balance, it
will be because of the feminine energy. Six of our eight demonstrators
were women, strong and committed women. I also learned that if you show
a sign that says "Honk if you Hate Greed," City bus drivers will honk
more than other segment of the population. They will also give a raised
fist salute. I learned that a lot of people don't really care about
genocide. I learned that the L.A. Times is very territorial, and like to
send out their pretend enforcers (complete with badge and paraphanalia)
to make sure you don't violate their space.

While I am admittedly disappointed with those who promised to be there,
but didn't show, I am extremely proud of those strong spirits who were
there and who stayed right through to the end. Now, I want
to recognize and honor those others who were there from start to finish.
They are: MARIE HOOK, a Peltier supporter who drove all the way from
Santa Cruz to stand with us; DOVELY MAFFEO (for whom I have great
respect); ANNE DAVISON (my full-time partner), CHRISTINE GRAY (newest
member and sign-maker for SENAA West), JOSEPH WHITTLE (young man from
Santa Barbara, a photographer, and soon to visit the land to record what
he sees), ELENA ZUNIGA (our newest partner Orange County Big Mountain
Support Group), DEBBIE SCHWARTZ (friend of Dovely and friend of all
those who suffer). Also, Freelance Journalist Jane Ayers did show up to
ask some questions and record some answers. Jane has written for the Los
Angeles Times (ironically), USA Today, People Magazine, and The Nation
magazine. We do not yet know what might become of that interview, if
anything. If Jane does get her story published, I'm sure she'll let us
know the details.

Dovely made up a press package that included "Vanishing Prayer" and
delivered it to the Editor's office of the L.A. Times while there. Never
one to let a good media opportunity slide by. She would also attack
moving buses, thrusting flyers through closing doors for the bus
drivers. She is a real kamikazee, and you're always glad she's on your
team.

Was this day a waste? No, not really. More people know about the
genocide in big Mountain today, then knew about it yesterday. Plus, we
made some good connections with allies and will form even stronger
partnerships because of it. We had the big and powerful Times nervous in
the beginning, as they didn't know what to expect and sent their
uniformed flunkies to spy on us. We just did what you've got to do...get
out there and talk to the people, give them information, and tell them
what they can do to help. We did all that we could. We'll get over the
disappointment of broken promises.

I am deeply proud of those who stood with me this day. I admire them
greatly. There is talk about a demo against Edison coming up soon (they
need more Big Mountain coal to light up L.A.). That will be a group
demo, with about 4-5 different groups participating. SENAA West will be
there...this month, sometime. We'll just keep on keepin' on because the
clock is ticking and the Grandmothers are waiting. I am sorry this
wasn't all that we'd hoped for. But we'll be back. The core of this
group has no quit in them. All warriors, every one.

Mitakuye Oyasin!

Matt Davison, SENAA West

This poster created by Elena, says it all.

more pictures