Monday, September 14, 2009

Park(ing) Day Activism This Friday!

Photo courtesy of Park(ing) Day / Rebar

This week I got an email from Creative Loafing informing me that I was nominated for Best Green Activist in the Best of the Bay competition. After spitting out my morning latte uncontrollably in a fit of surprise, I decided that one of two things had happened. I had been chosen based on our people's confused definitions of activism (which would have been a sad commentary on the understanding of activism) OR there was a horrible mistake! Luckily after a few confirmation emails, I was slightly reassured by the reply of "Sorry that was a typo." I think we were nominated for Green Retail Shop but I'm not sure at this point if the voting process has the surety of a modern day democracy like say... Afghanistan. Anyhow, all joking aside, I guess we are in the running for something. We'll see.

The best irony is that this week we are actually doing something that is sort of activist like. No, we won't be carrying any obnoxious Obama = Dracula signs at a rally, but we will be having a sit in of sorts. We are participating in a mass demonstration / installation called Park(ing) Day. Our part of this involves taking over a parking spot in downtown Tampa for a Friday, paying the meter, and converting it into a miniature park. Ours should be a restful spot with native greenery and benches made in TSM fashion from scrap wood and steel. The idea is to promote a non-commercial agenda of reclaiming our underutilized space from cars and giving it back to the people. If all of these parked car people could get to downtown easily on mass transit then maybe our little 9X20 could be a greenspace in the future! Anyway, there will be about a dozen micro-parks on the Franklin corridor so grab a bike or your walking shoes and help us take back our public areas, one metered space at a time.

P.S. We get plenty of confused looks when we talk about this project to folks, but basically we are optimists and when it comes to activism, we prefer funny, positive, visual, and experimental over screaming fits of rage any day.


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