Activism Fair draws largest crowd of its kind in recent memory

Activism Fair draws largest crowd of its kind in recent memory

Photo: Ralph Thompson 1/14/17

Everybody said they had never seen anything in Rochester quite like yesterday’s Activism Fair at the Visual Studies fairWorkshop.

At 10 a.m., 52 activist groups set up tables. Over the next several hours, between 450 – 600 people came through the doors to celebrate citizen participation at its most patriotic.

It was great to see lots of friends. Ubiquitous Alex White (Campaign Canvassing) was manning the Green Party booth. Alex said he hasn’t witnessed such a crowd of progressive people since the Occupy Movement in Washington Square Park several years ago. And never one encompassing such a wide range of social justice groups and supporters.

ray ray

Ray Ray Mitrano (center). Nilson Carrol, VSW MFA student (left). Alex at the Green Party table in back. see Fake Election


Ravi Mangla see Citizenship in Action

Ray Ray Mitrano (Fake Election) hadn’t seen such a large crowd in the VSW Auditorium since he administered the Fake Election in November. From what I heard, the results of the real election — with the Inauguration just around the corner — motivated many to come to the Activism Fair.

Ravi Mangla, ROCitizen (and Citizenship in Action) thought the event was perhaps the first of its kind in the region, And, he heard that Geneseo is already planning an Activism Fair. The concept is spreading.


Justin Delinois see For Justin Delinois, all roads led to the Liberty Pole Way. And beyond.

Justin Delinois (Liberty Pole Way) came by after attending the James Sheppard for Mayor announcement. Justin was almost breathless when looking at the streams of people filling the auditorium. Justin felt, at least for this afternoon, he was watching Rochester united.


Rajesh Barnabas see ZOOM

Rajesh Barnabas, Rochester Indy Media (and ZOOM), has also never seen such a full range of participation. Like a few others, Rajesh noted this Fair was somewhat similar to Metro Justice’s Alternative Fair.

But with one big difference. The Alternative Fair sells actual goods, while, as Rajesh said, the Activism Fair was just selling ideas. And people were buying.

Jack Bratigan Spula (Electoral College) couldn’t remember such an event in years.  And, as Jack said, he’s been in the activism game for a long time. Many of the Rochester old guard activists were there. The mixing of the generations added to the electricity in the air.

The event organizer, Athesia Benjamin, wrote during the day:

Shawn Dunwoody was at the Activism Fair. He was talking up how art activism can go hand in hand with political activism.

The sea of humanity currently at the Rochester Activism Fair is a beautiful thing!! The next step will be to plug in somewhere, and stay at it!

It was a beautiful thing. And people made just the kinds of connections and information sharing we’ll need as the Inauguration is just around the corner.card

Photographer Ralph Thompson of Gallery 74 kindly provides a montage of the Activism Fair:

fair 1

Photos by Ralph Thompson (below) 1/14/17

fair 2

fair 3

fair 4


Athesia organizes huge Activism Fair at the Visual Studies Workshop, Sat the 14th.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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