We Can’t Sit This One Out
At UC Davis, students protested nonviolently, the campus police responded, an officer casually sprayed a group of student sitting their arms interlocked, like plants, he became a meme and, along with the police chief, was placed on leave. Many people in many places expressed outrage, students participated in a powerful, silent protest. Assistant Professor Nathan Brown wrote an open letter to Katehi expressing his outrage. The UC Davis English department has changed their website so that the header issues a call for the chancellor, Linda Katehi, to resign and for the police force to be disbanded. On a national faculty mailing list I’m on, a member issued a call to action stating, “We cannot sit this one out.” During turbulent times, writers often ask themselves, how do we write about this? How do we respond? What is our responsibility to social change? How do we participate and avoid sitting this one out? Poet Robert Hass wrote a New York Times editorial that has been widely read and lauded but he also avoided sitting this one out because he and his wife were at the Berkeley protest. As writers, do you feel a need to respond to what happened at UC Davis, or UC Berkeley, or at any of the occupy movements? Do you feel the need to physically participate in these protests? Why and how?