About 1000 protesters "down with the clown" turned out in DC this past Saturday to protest what they and the American Civil Liberties Union see as an unwarranted gang labeling by the FBI back in 2011. Proudly known as juggalos, passionate fans of the rap-metal, horrorcore and clown-friendly music duo Insane Clown Posse are fed up after a recent lawsuit filed by the band and the ACLU challenging the FBI gang designation was recently dismissed. They feel unfairly targeted, and took their plight to the nation's capitol for a largely peaceful and well-attended public demonstration in protest of the gang label and to protect their First Amendment rights.
Per the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment, ICP fans are described as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang" which according the march website has had adverse effects on juggalos and juggalettes being able to secure employment, keep custody of their children, serve in the military, attend school and general standing in society. ICP has been a commercially successful band for years and amassed a dedicated following but has largely occupied a fringe space outside mainstream music and culture, and orienting around yearly "Gatherings." The bands horror-oriented personas and clown makeup surely contributes to uneasiness but the juggalos are also a tight-knit community, and a refuge for some people who feel undesired by mainstream society.
The March of the Juggalos happened to be going on as the same time as a pro-President Trump rally called MOAR (Mother of All Rallies). By numerous accounts the March of the Juggalos was the dominant demonstration of the two with vastly more ICP fans turning out than MAGA enthusiasts.
What you can do about it:
Political activism takes many faces and belongs to everyone in a society. Whatever your issue is, show up and do something. It's easy to repost an article on Facebook or like a socially conscious picture on Instagram, but if you want lawmakers and decision makers to really take notice, there's little alternative than showing up and making your voice heard.
Regardless of your political persuasion, there's likely an issue out there that has direct relevant to your life and interests, and don't expect anyone else to be speaking up for your interests.
Get out there and do something. Whoop-whoop.
And then some:
Also going down at the nation's capitol and closer to the White House was the Protect American Democracy Rally to bring attention and accountability to Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. And the Vigil Against White Supremacy, which is the continuation of the March Against White Supremacy from Charlottesville, VA to DC, was also staked out nearby. Some perspectives on the weekends events via Twitter below:Juggalo March:
Mother Of All Rallies (#MOAR):
Protect American Democracy:
While there were certainly some tensions going into the weekend, Saturday appears to have been largely peaceful and a good reminder that a healthy democracy depends on an engaged and active citizenry.