Longmont Leads with Love is a loosely aligned and assembled group that occupies the street intersection of 6th and Main in downtown Longmont Saturdays 1 to 2 p.m..
Holding up signs, protesting their own chosen issues, talking to passers-by and flashing peace signs are their form of public comment. Many cars simply drive past without a notice, others honk their horns or shout positive reinforcement slogans, and there are a few who yell or use their hands for obscenities. But the weekly vigil persists, as they are buttressed by one unifying sentiment: their total dissatisfaction with the Trump Presidency and the Republican Party in general, and how they feel those forces are threatening the planet and life here.
The City of Longmont doesn’t require them to be permitted as long as they stay off the streets and don’t interfere directly with traffic. One protester, holding a sign that simply said DACA, is called “Strider”, stated “the police and the city treat us fairly, if not actually very well.” When asked about any negative incidents, he told the story about one trucker who blasts his diesel exhaust fumes and enhanced horn at the protesters.
Strider, a long time Civil Rights activist, started at the same location in 2002 to protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At one stretch, he protested for 400 straight weeks. After Obama was elected, the protesters backed off and hardly showed up as they felt the country and world was in better hands. But the election of Trump in 2016 “brought me back out as well as the others.” Strider also attends about 35 city council meetings a year. At the last one, he sang a song of warning to them, to keep reminding them of the dangers out there, living up to his claim as a civic activist.
Kathy Partridge, another protester, stated that they like to “call attention to local issues, such as the fracking close to residential areas, respect for the rights and dignity of immigrants, trying to keep ICE out of Longmont and to remind locals that their view is important and they should always vote”.
The group strives to keep on a consistent message of peace and love even though there are an array of individual personalities as part of the overall group that are quite individualistic. They have a newsletter and monthly meetings, with their next meeting scheduled for April 16th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Barbed Wire bookstore. All are welcome, and more information can be found on their Facebook site.
One member, who was quite specifically outspoken against the Trump regime and the Republican Party, is Raymond Avila. He thinks they have lowered the level of common decency and friendliness of the country, and wants AR15 assault rifles banned and more attention by the city leaders to keep fracking away from populated areas. He also supports immigrants and DACA.
Avila stated the group doesn’t have any hard and fast “rules”, except to use common sense in a family atmosphere, as they are in the public eye.
A lot of the longer interactions occur from the folks who are pedestrians and were walking by, and Raymond enjoys the many thank yous he hears. Raymond also wanted to point out that he believes that the Times Call daily newspaper publication “sold out” and “doesn’t adequately represent the interests of Longmont citizens with their consolidation with Boulder and New York ownership.”
At exactly 2 p.m. the crowd packed up and dispersed as quickly and quietly as they had arrived. One man stayed, Dale Lorran.
Dale held a cut out of the universal Peace sign and held his two fingers in the traditional sign of peace up to each passing vehicle. I joined him in giving the Peace sign and about every tenth car would honk and give the sign back. Dale explained “it’s easier for me to be alone, I stand out more, than when I’m buried in the midst of all the others.” He isn’t formally connected to the others and is motivated by helping spread the message of Peace and to treating our planet gently, as the way we’re treating it now he believes we’re in the last stages. He does posit optimism though in describing that if we just enabled a lot of bright young engineers, how great their advancements could be.
Dale started standing at the intersection beginning in 2002. He feels that when someone sees him and his Peace sign, “when they just take the short amount of time to respond, they’re taking a step in the right direction towards a more peaceful world”, and that gives Dale a lot of satisfaction. He is deeply committed to more peace, and talks about the planet as needing better stewardship.
A lot of opinions can be made about this loose knit group, but it would be difficult to argue with a message of “Longmont leads with love” or to discount Dale’s Peace message.