On Saturday April 28, 2007, 1,500
In an April 27 article, “Cheers likely for Bush at MDC speech,” the Miami Herald quoted accounting and economics teacher, Maria Mari saying, “This is a commuter school. Students don’t stick around’ to plan protests. Yet, the number of young protestors was equal if not greater than the number of aged activists. Luis Cuevas,
First-time protestor, 25-year-old
Wendels said that she felt her presence at the rally was meaningful because it would embolden others. “I feel like if me being here, if two or three other people see me here then two other people will come next time and it just makes it stronger. So everybody has to do there part. Everybody has to be here.”
Responding to the Herald’s contention that Bush was almost guaranteed a friendly welcome, Miami Beach resident, Dave Patlack, said he felt like protesters stood up to the paper’s challenge. “This is hugely successful,” he said. “The Miami Herald, on Friday, threw down the gauntlet to
Despite the solid showing from a city often labeled as politically-apathetic, many news reports failed to portray the event accurately. In its online story, “Protestors Greet President Bush With Jeers,” posted the same day of the event, CBS 4, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, inaccurately reported that only “dozens of protestors voiced their disapproval of the President’s actions in Iraq,” while Bush delivered his commencement speech (Apr 28, 2007, http://cbs4.com/local/local_story_118193421.html). The short article went on to distortedly note, “Not everyone at the protest had something bad to say about Mr. Bush. Even though they were in the minority, there were some people who had nothing but good things to say about the President’s performance.”
In actuality, at the height of the event, around 5pm, less than half-dozen Bush supporters waded through a sea of more than 1,000 anti-Bush protestors. In one particular instance, a group of young activists shadowed a lone Bush supporter chanting, “Republicans for Peace.” In other instances Bush supporters were so outnumbered that they appeared to number among anti-Bush protestors.
While the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in its story had no trouble reporting that the president spoke to “1600 of the College’s 8,000 graduates,” the paper demeaned the protest twice stating that “hundreds of protestors” had gathered outside of the college. (“At Miami-Dade Graduation, Bush Talks Immigration,” April 30, 2007, http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?id=63105).
Meanwhile, TV stations and newspapers around the state and nation ran the Associated Press’s take on the event, which underestimated protest attendance to be “about 600 people.”
One of the event’s many organizers, Simon Rose, press secretary for Democracy for
“Before you site a number, if you say hundreds then you better make darn sure you’ve counted the number of people rather than arbitrary throwing out a number. I know several people who counted well over a thousand.”
At the start of the event, around 3pm, Rose led a group of about 300 marchers to the main entrance and was surprised at those already gathered in front to the school. “When we marched around the corner, came around 97th avenue onto Killian to go to the main entrance, I couldn’t believe how many people were already there. Instantly, the number doubled to about 500. And people just kept coming and coming.”
Even more important than the media’s low-balling of protest attendance, Rose believes the ratio of supporters to detractors was the real story that went unreported. “What was really significantly is that there were over 1,000 protestors against his policies as opposed to maybe half-a-dozen supporters,” said Rose. “Later in the protest a few of them walked away, leaving about three.
“To me, it is almost shameful that the media isn’t reporting that, the tremendous ratio of protestors versus supporters. Frankly, I expected a lot more supporters of the president to show up. I felt very good about how few did show-up, it’s so telling.”
Among those at the event were
Brad Shaw, an African-American Miami local, said he came to the protest to “stop Bush and his crimes against us all.” “He needs to respect us all,” said Shaw. Adding, “Bring our troops home, they need to come home and see their kids, they need to be back home with us.”
Graduate art student, Jacqueline Gopie , who attends
“It’s in reaction to the statement Bush made when he signed a veto of a bill that was going to increase funding for stem-cell research,” she said. “He said he didn’t want to allow stem-cell research because it would mean the murdering of innocent lives, and this is four-years into the
When all was said and done, co-organizer Rose felt the event was successful in more than one way. Not only had over a thousand people come out in 90-degree weather to unwelcome Bush from his
Rose added that it’s no small accomplishment that the president “snuck in from the North end” of the campus” so as to avoid the wrath of the American people.
What good had a dictator for the opinions of his subjects anyway?