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"IN YOUR FACE" DEMONSTRATION REPORT
CNN BUILDING, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
 

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Click Thumbnails Below to See Full Size Images
The Demonstrators
L-R: Karen, Julian, Al, Stephen Wing,
Unidentified Ga. Green Party Activist (background)

 

 

Big Mtn. Veteran (L.) & Ga. Green Party Activist
The young woman on the right brought the cloth banner that read, "CNN, Silence Is Complicity!"
We mounted the banner on a construction fence--
right beside the CNN building.

 

Al & Julian
With so many miles separating us,
Seeing our brother Julian is a rare treat

 

Julian & Mignonne
This was our first meeting
with our beloved brother

 

Karen, Julian's Friend,
Distributing Literature for us to hand out
Karen and Mignonne distributed literature, along with our other activist friends.

 

 

Thomas Easton, Green Party, and Yonaudante
Yona signed the Green Party's petition
to show gratitude for their help. Easton is a Tai-Chi instructor and Activity Coordinator at
The Appalachian Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Easton is also a Georgia Green Party activist, which can be contacted by e-mail at: ggp@greens.org
Al, Julian, and Stephen Wing
Stephen Wing is a poet, graphic designer, and
freelance writer, using the business name
"Prophecy of the Rainbow."

 

The Photographer gets Photographed
Brant Sanderlin, Staff Photographer for the
Atlanta Journal/Constitution, making notes
as Mignonne gets a quick snapshot.

 

With Yonaudante (rt.) as our body guard,
not even CNN Security would bother us
No one wants to rile even a Gentle Bear.


 

Julian, Mignonne, and Unidentified Helper
The unidentified gentleman in the background to the right
has spent time at Big Mountain helping the elders.
He happened by as we were demonstrating, read our
literature, and decided to stay and help. It's a small world,
after all.

 



   
   
 

The Atlanta CNN Demonstration


Mignonne and I arrived in Atlanta on schedule. When we arrived at Centennial Park, across the street from the CNN Center, we were greeted with a parade right down Marietta Street. They even honored Mignonne with Llamas (alpacas), all combed and decked out; and a giant,
30 feet tall Grinch baloon, her favorite Christmas character. Mignonne's comment was, "Well! I see they were expecting us. What a wonderful welcome!"

Well, maybe the parade was NOT in our honor, but it was a nice thought.

When the parade was finished and we could cross the street from Centennial Park to the CNN Center, Julian; Karen, a friend of Julian; Mignonne; my son, Yona; and I got together at the corner. We were joined almost immediately by another couple: two activists from The Georgia Green Party,  Thomas Easton and an unidentified young woman who made up a large cloth banner with SENAA and Robert Dorman's web addresses at top and bottom and the words, "CNN. SILENCE IS COMPLICITY!" in the center . They tied the banner to a chain link construction fence nearby so everyone passing by could read it. (See Photo Below)

No sooner had we gotten together than a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution approached us. The reporter interviewed Julian and me and took a copy of our literature, SENAA's web address, e-mail, phone, and mailing address. He then sent a photographer, who stayed with us for awhile to take photos of the demonstration.

Only a few minutes into the demonstration, Stephen Wing, poet and activist, and a friend of his who has spent time on Big Mountain helping the grandmothers joined us. That put our number at nine people passing out literature and talking to interested passersby about the Dine'h

Metro Atlanta police, who were directing traffic after the parade and generally hanging out at Centennial Park, watched with some interest as we set about our work. Finally, one officer came over and took a copy of our literature from Mignonne and Karen.

Mr. Ademah Hackshaw, a freelance video producer who has worked for ABC, CBS, and NBC, and was this day working with CNN to cover the parade and football game, also approached us and got copies of our literature for each network and had us write SENAA's mailing address and other contact info, including our video web site, on each copy, which he promised to send with a write up to the networks.

As we gave out all but the last two copies of our literature, suddenly the "CNN Police" (a glorified security service like the one at the L.A. Times) came from inside the CNN Center and informed us that we were on CNN property and would have to leave. Funny. We had been there almost three hours, and CNN "Police" suddenly decided we had to leave.

I said, "Hey, how can you run us off after Ted Turner made all those movies about Native Americans and how badly we've been treated?" He said that had nothing to do with it and made us leave the block.

When we went across the street to Centennial Park, two young men and their lady friends approached us and asked if we had any literature. We gave them our last two copies of our literature and stood on the corner wishing each other a safe journey home when a Park Police officer came to us and said we could not stand there on that corner with our picket signs without a permit. I informed him, truthfully, that I had inquired about necessary permits and had gotten no response. We were informed that I had contacted the wrong department; so we obtained the contact information from the officers (three by this time) and agreed to leave.

What is interesting about the police and CNN security encounters is that the entire time we were talking to people, handing out literature, giving interviews, and being photographed, no one even hinted that we were not allowed to demonstrate on CNN property, and not one discouraging word was uttered. The Metro Police had watched us for a long time, but said nothing to discourage us. In fact, one officer came over and asked for a copy of our literature.

The timing was perfect. It was as if Creator had stifled any objections to our work until every piece of our literature was gone. When the security guard appeared, it was as if Creator was saying, "Okay, I'm happy. You have done what I needed you to do here. You can go home, now." It was that well orchestrated.

In the Sunday, 5 December edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The article and photo below appeared. Our heartfelt thanks go to the reporter, Will Anderson, and the photographer, Brant Sanderlin, for writing the article and shooting the photo. Our sincere gratitude and respect go to Mr Leon Stafford, who took interest in the Dine'h struggle and assigned Anderson and Sanderlin to cover the demonstration. If you would like to thank any or all of them for their help, please e-mail them at: listen@ajc.com.

 

 

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Mining prompts protest

Placards at CNN: Group demands coverage of Navajos dispute with Peabody Coal.

Will Anderson - Staff
Sunday, December 5, 1999
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A small group of Native Americans demonstrated in Atlanta Saturday against what they called "ethnic cleansing" of Navajo ancestral lands.

Members of the Southeastern Native American Alliance carried placards outside the CNN Center in protest of what they characterized as the national media's failure to report on mining on an Arizona reservation that has displaced thousands of Navajos.

"They're being forced off their land so that the Peabody Coal Co. can continue its strip mining," said Al Swilling of Cleveland, Tenn., who founded SENAA. "The only alternative they're being offered is to move on to contaminated land."

Swilling and others claim the U.S. government is in large part responsible for the problems on reservations in northeastern Arizona, where Congress tried to settle a land dispute between Navajo and Hopi tribes in the 1970s. Some contend the dispute was inspired by profits that both tribal governments make from allowing mining to continue.

But Swilling disputes claims that conflict between the two tribes is responsible for reservation problems. His group blames the Bureau of Indian Affairs in material that demonstrators handed out Saturday.

"The so-called tribal governments are puppet regimes installed by the administration in Washington and do not speak for the people," the material says.

Only five demonstrators appeared in Atlanta Saturday; and although they arranged to hold the event at 11 a.m., they waited until after the end of the annual Christmas parade, which started on Marietta Street at Centennial Olympic Park, across from the CNN Center. Similar demonstrations were planned in New York and Los Angeles.