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Civil Disobedience 

In times of turmoil, the Vocal Seniority group forms to once again speak truth to power

Members of The Vocal Seniority raise their canes for justice. Photo by Sid Snyder.

Members of The Vocal Seniority raise their canes for justice. Photo by Sid Snyder.

As Generation X or Y or Millennials fight against the baby boomer generation, it's easy to forget that the baby boomers once fought against "The Greatest Generation" who fought against their parents generations, and so on.

The Vocal Seniority (Raising Cane) is a newly formed civil group with members who fought in the Civil Rights Movement and against the Vietnam War. I talked to Sid Snyder, one of the founding members of the group, and learned more in our 30 minute discussion about real civil disobedience than in all of my last 20 years as a leftist pinko commie (or whatever the conservatives are calling me now).

"The group came out of more of a social group," says Snyder. "Just a bunch of old guys meeting for coffee once a week. The reason we were meeting for coffee is because we had a lot of similar ideas and history and each person had their own story of civic engagement over the decades. Most of us that formed the group cut our teeth on the Civil Rights and Vietnam War times in the '60s and early '70s."

When the social group starting seeing the current battle lines hardening, Snyder and his friends felt the call to action. "There were a bunch of other folks that were alarmed by what we had seen during the election, but it's been happening for a long time in this country," says Snyder. "I think that the Bernie Sanders candidacy brought a lot of this to light for a lot of people who hadn't noticed before. One of the underlying issues with this schism is the gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting worse. When that happens it leads to scapegoating and causes groups to get very nasty towards one another. That's what's happening right now."

The main focus of the group isn't to divide people even further, but something more specific. "We are 'concerned,' although 'concerned' is far too mild of a word, about a plutocracy in the executive branch and a radical right wing agenda in the legislative branch. Which is what we're facing. What this group wants is to resist that agenda," Snyder says.

The Vocal Seniority (Raising Cane) isn't just a group for senior citizens, but instead an all-inclusive one looking to promote the fundamental principals of a democratic society. Their first public act will be taking part in the Bend march and rally for solidarity with the Women's March on Washington taking place Jan. 21. I might not be a senior citizen quite yet, but these are some people I would be happy to walk with.

Protect Our Progress Demonstration and Solidarity March

Sat. Jan 21

11am – 4pm

Drake Park Bandstand, 777 NW Riverside Ave., Bend

A combined effort between many organizations and movements to mobilize for a demonstration after Donald Trump's inauguration.

This is What Democracy Looks Like: Electoral College Reform

Fri. Jan. 20

2:45 p.m.

Downtown Bend Library, Brooks Room, 601 NW Wall St., Bend

It is time to remove this anachronistic and undemocratic process. Find out how.

Irresistible Justice: Cultivating Joy as a Pathway to Equity, a film and dialogue session

Tues. Jan. 24


COCC Bend Campus, Wille Hall, 2600 NW College Way, Bend

Using clips from her groundbreaking film, "Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity," Dr. Shakti Butler will discuss the system of racialization through a holistic framework.

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