Sergio Diaz Tribute, MLK and Civil Rights “Bloody Sunday”, and Learning Protest Songs

January 10, 2018

January’s meeting started off with a somber note, as we took the time to honor and mourn the loss of PAN member Sergio Diaz, who died suddenly this December. Sergio was a founding member of PAN, and could always be counted on for his upbeat and thoughtful contributions. While his loss affected many of us profoundly, we will continue on in his honor, knowing the joy he found in coming together for this work.
We took time this month to focus on protests; what they have meant to the civil rights movement and how it relates to today. A presentation was prepared on “Bloody Sunday,” the Martin Luther King led march in which state troopers and local law enforcement clubbed and tear-gassed civil rights protesters as they crossed the Edmond Pettus Bridge. We learned that this was a strategic plan by the protest-planners, as the violence of Bloody Sunday was broadcast and became a turning point in the movement. We had a lively discussion about how recent protests relate, many wondering how coverage would differ in today’s age of “fake news.”
Following was possibly our liveliest action, as we learned several protest songs including “This Land is Your Land,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “If I Had a Hammer.”