So when I found an article posted at Urbanevangie.com about when they teamed up with LoveASU to speak, prance, and be merry on Mill Ave, I figured there’d be a good place to see something interesting unfold. The event took place Friday, April 23rd 2010 right out in front of the US Post Office on Mill.
“We started the night off by sharing the gospel via mic a few times. From there we let the Love ASU crew have a go at the mic. Between our group and Love ASU, the Christians totalled in at about 40 people! We were able to use that amount of people as an advantage, to form a crowd. As people passed by in the streets they quickly joined the large group, curious as to what was going on. We rotated on the mic for about an hour and a half. Anything and everything was shared, from testimonies, poems, skits, spoken word, scripture reading, etc.” (via urbanevangie.com)
The interesting thing that struck me about this article is how most of the black & white photographs contain a person who I know and recognize: Kazz. His person—or at least his equipment and display—show visible in every single photo. The narrative spoken by the photographs silhouettes a hollow in the very content of the article; while Kazz and his happen to be visible in the photos, he remained entirely invisible to the article’s writer.
Kazz is part of a protest group who provide a response to religious opinions on Mill Ave: The Mill Avenue Resistance. If these photographs reflect reality and his loudspeaker and he happened to be near the epicenter of this forum of religious opinion, he wouldn’t have been so silent as to have no impact. The lack of acknowledgement in the article itself is baffling; although the blatant bias makes a short explanation as to why this might be the case.
An interview with Kazz, however, reveals the side of the story deliberately left out by the Urbanevangie writer. A story of bad acts perpetrated by both Urbanevangie and LoveASU; a tale of breaking the understanding of basic decency in a public commons and forum. LoveASU’s place in this story may still be ambiguous; they have no history with Mill and may well be dupes in this trite little play. The manipulated hand puppets of a more sinister hand, but I think that if they want to be good members of the Mill Ave public they should earn up to their part in this.
When Kazz and Kayleigh arrived at the scene, the LoveASU and Urbanevangie groups had already set up their thing over to the side and Kazz let them be. As the crowd expanded, he spoke to a man identified as James, who I believe is a member of LoveASU, about giving up some time to the other group in the commons. A proper concession of the forum which did not get honored appropriately.
At one point, LoveASU even approached The Resistance about using their amplification. The reason being that LoveASU had some singers with a greater range than their own speakers could handle appropriately; Kazz accepted and allowed them to use his equipment for a time so that the singers could be heard in their full flavor.
As the night wore on the LoveASU and Urbanevangie group began fielding members to speak life stories. Kazz explains that at first he went to wait for a break in the speeches, trying intermittently to speak between speakers; but as they started going the varied speakers began to roll smoothly, making no break between persons taking up the microphone. Even going so far as to deliberately ignore Kazz and Kayleigh—even with the common’s compromise on the table with James.
Eventually fed up with this behavior, Kazz waited until one speaker had finished and hit the button on some loud music. “I’m sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short sighted, narrow minded hypocrites. All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth.” (Lennon, “Gimmie Some Truth”.) According to Kazz, with the volume set high enough to encumber the next speaker LoveASU and Urbanevangie were forced to acknowledge their presence and assented to James’s earlier promise to give them time to speak.
Both Kazz and Kayleigh indict Phil, a member of Urbanevangie, for this bad behavior. Both replied during my interview that he appeared to have taken over pushing speakers to their microphone, doing so in such a fashion so deliberately saturate the forum as to deliberately disallow and disrupt any reply. From my reading of the article on the Urbanevangie website, which carefully ignores their scrape with the Resistance it’s easy to see that they see no need to defend or even outline their actions.
LoveASU and Urbanevangie clean up your act. When you approach our community in this fashion, when you deliberately close out others who have equal place in the commons because you have greater numbers, then in this you become bullies.
I expect that if either of you make numbers again on our Mill Ave that you will reconcile this problem with your conduct and act to better our public commons and not pollute it with your bad manners.