This past week, in a suburb of my town of Portland, several hundred high school students protested over a hand-painted sign someone hung in the cafeteria that proclaimed “Build A Wall.” The reference to Trump and immigration was particularly devastating to the students of this high school, many of whom are Latino. But it wasn’t just Latino students who protested. And in later days, students from other high schools also voiced their objections. The protests attracted the attention of the news.
In the 1950s in New York City, mom and writer Jane Jacobs took on the powerful Robert Moses, an urban planner “king” who was driven around New York in a black stretch limousine with pigskin seats. Moses wanted to ruin Washington Square park in Jacobs’ Greenwich Village neighborhood by constructing a road that would serve as an entrance ramp to the Lower Manhattan Expressway.
Jacobs organized protests. Moms with strollers rallied in the park. Older children put up posters, while other kids wore signs. At one hearing, Moses stormed out, shouting, “There is nobody against this – NOBODY, NOBODY, NOBODY but a bunch of, a bunch of MOTHERS.”
Jacobs helped save Washington Park and went on to write a critically acclaimed book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,”
Sometimes we think our voice doesn’t matter. But like high school students and mothers, you never know the effect.
Source: Glenna Lang’s & Margory Wunsch’s excellent book, Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the story of The Death and Live of Great American Cities