Those Who Turned Their Bodies into the Ocean Beach “Vote!”

by on April 23, 2018 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

Photo courtesy of Paul Emus

The Dog Beach parking lot was packed by 9am this past Saturday, April 21st, the day when people were going to congregate on the sands and spell out the word, “VOTE!” with their bodies and towels. It wasn’t supposed to start till 10 and the drone wasn’t flying over until 11.

Mike James, the principle organizer, was busy when I walked up to him. He and a handful of early-birds were laying out the grid for the letters. He was hoping for enough people to show up to spell out the human banner and have plenty of bodies to spell out another word, “8645”. Mike had arranged to coordinate the action with folks up at Ocean Beach San Francisco who were going to also spell out “Vote”.

Photo courtesy of Paul Emus

I returned to the berm that stands guard over Dog Beach and for the next hour or so recruited people walking by to join the efforts on the sand.

There was a lot going on. The monthly Dog Beach Dog Wash was going full steam with people fanning out all over OB’s northern beach picking up trash and litter (a big complaint – still – was too many cigarette butts). Then Surfrider was also doing a beach clean-up down closer to the OB Pier, I was told. Plus Saturday was the day for the Bay to Creek clean-up with I Love a Clean San Diego and allies. To top it off, there must have been a half dozen people collecting signatures.

Mike James (Photo by Frank Gormlie)

We had asked people to wear blue and most did. And with anybody walking by with blue on I would ask if they were here for the vote.  Candidate Jordan Beane was there – the only city council candidate around on the beach – but he wasn’t wearing blue. He joined the crowd of human bannering.

I returned to the crowd forming the letters and with my clipboard in hand, walked up to the first 30 people I found and asked them all a series of questions. I wanted to know who had shown up and how did they find out about it.

Mike James and early birds measure out the grid.

About 10 am, people are still coming …

A bunch of Indivisible women hamming it up. Photo from Indivisible

I spoke with a total of 30 people, about one-fifth of those there. And here’s what I found out:

  • One-third were from OB, 2 from Point Loma, whereas most were from other city neighborhoods – one half – and a handful from North County;
  • How did they find out about it? By far, most told me via facebook – nearly half; another half-dozen by word-of-mouth, and a handful from the Resistance, Indivisible, Women’s March;
  • One-third of those I interviewed had attended the “Impeach” and “Resist” bannering last year in OB. So, that’s 10 people out of 30.
  • I asked everyone if they thought Trump should be impeached? 29 out of 30 said yes, with one undecided.

Around 11 am, the drone flew over and hovered; people waved – and at the appointed moment, James gave the word and everyone scrambled to form a new word. It wasn’t actually a word, it was “8645” – meaning get rid (“86”) of the current president (No. 45). It was over around 11:30 and people scattered once the final drone sweep was complete. A few lingered to enjoy the moment with friends.

Back home, I didn’t see any print media about the event. Last year, our “Impeach” made front page local news at SDU-T. I guess the word “Vote” is just not radical enough to make news.

Photos courtesy of Paul Emus

Drone video courtesy of Paul Emus: https://youtu.be/eUebkmymYPM

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jane Jewell April 25, 2018 at 8:53 am

Lovely to know there were two going on at once, in San Francisco and San Diego.

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