When I was a Junior in High School the Governor of Wisconsin decided he wanted to become world famous by destroying the state. In an attempt to strip Wisconsin unions of their Collective Bargaining Rights he managed to infuriate hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters, and police officers who used collective bargaining to attain pay raises, better working conditions, and adequate benefits packages. As a result the union members showed up on Governor Scott Walker’s door step, and stayed there for weeks at a time.
Growing up in a liberal suburb close to the capitol the protests shut down my school when so many teachers called in sick to go protest that the district wasn’t able to get enough substitutes to hold classes. So what do a bunch of liberal high schoolers do when school is canceled? Join the protest. Even once the government had stated teachers were no longer legally allowed to call in sick to protest the students didn’t return to class. For days at a time we would show up for one or two classes, and then about halfway though one of our classes we would promptly all walk out together.
We covered the capitol and the surrounding blocks with signs and banners. Some of them were polite, others were a little colorful, most were just intended to have the shock value necessary to make it onto Fox News. As the weeks progressed I my friends and I spent more time wandering around downtown and less time in class, yet our grades were continuing to rise as most teachers had abandoned their lesson plans and told students to simply read the textbook and email them with questions.
We stopped paying for food on protest days as people from around the world were calling in pizza orders to local restaurants which would then deliver free pizza to protesters on designated street corners once every 15-30 minutes. Many protesters started sleeping in the capitol as a way to keep the building occupied 24 hours a day. The 14 state senate democrats eventually fled the state where they hid out in a hotel in Illinois trying to prevent the senate from reaching quorum (a move that ultimately failed and caused further outrage).
My friends and I watched as metal detectors were placed at all entrances not for the purpose of preventing guns from entering the building (as a bill had just been passed allowing open carry in government buildings) but to prevent people from smuggling in crockpots to help feed the people where still refusing to sleep anywhere but the floor of the south and east wings of the building.
We joined the solidarity singers and narrowly escaped jail time when a law was passed making it illegal to sing or play an instrument on government property (something we had been doing non stop for weeks with thousands of our closest friends). However through it all I made a bond with one of the top 5 most amazing people to ever enter my life.