“Sticks and stones can break my bones,” the saying goes and on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, community activists will gather at CHARAS (the Bimbo Rivas theatre’s home) on March 23 to put the adage to the test.
The “sticks” in this case belong to the I-Ching and having tossed their lot, community activists are drawing a theme from what they describe as the I- Ching’s “number for anarchy,” which is 23. They have planned a demonstration which takes place on March 23, when they will march on the Lower East Side from CHARAS to Ludlow and Houston to protest various displacements of community and art groups.
At the end of the parade route, on the corner of Ludlow and Houston, a 23 story luxury high-rise is planned. Activists have focused on this building as a symbol where they say rents will range from $1,900 to $5,000.
The concerted demonstration might have inspired such noted I-Ching adherents as the late composer John Cage to stop and smile: A roving street circus will feature Reverend Billy, a 23-person human pyramid, 23 radical cheerleaders and someone juggling 23 flaming chainsaws in an effort to “beat back the forces of gentrification.”
The “permitless” parade and demonstration begins at 6 PM. Participants will gather at CHARAS/El Bohio, which is located at 605 E. 9 St. (Between Avenues B and C). Member groups in the Lower Manhattan Anti-Displacement Coalition include Metropolitan Council on Housing, Chinese Staff & Workers Assoc., 10 Stanton Street Tenants Assoc., Good Old Lower East Side, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, Picture the Homeless and the Sixth Street Community Center.
—By Murdoch McBride