Like most scary stories, this one began with a horrifying murder. However it was of not of a human, but rather human rights… A MURDER OF LIBERTIES!!
Our activism was to mourn these liberties and raise awareness on campus for YALoween. Coinciding with this activism, we had one of our volunteers (Nate Sherman from the Leadership Institute) dress up as one of the assailants of our liberties: Barack Obama in a Grim Reaper outfit.
Grim Obama (Nate) walked around handing out candy and taking pictures with people while I talked to other students about liberty and encouraged them to sign up. We were bumping cool Halloween music, like The Dead Kennedys, Aimee Allen’s Ron Paul Song, and the fox song.
The participation in the project was not as direct as with our free speech wall but we figured that was due to the cold and the fact that there wasn’t as much for passersby to do. I can say, however, we say quite a bit of people walking to class view the stones, and quite a few being so intrigued they looked at them all with a laugh. Others viewed the stones and exclaimed “I agree!” I then exclaimed “sign-up here!” Many also came to pose with Grim-Obama, including students and Toledo City Council Candidate, Bill Delaney.
Our gravestones took quite a bit of effort to create, surprisingly. We made them out of spray-painted styrofoam, with wooden stakes on the back to keep them secure. Once they were painted, we used acrylic paint to write on them. The writing process really took the longest and I can say our vice-president, Todd Engel, did a large amount of work here, completing 50% of the gravestones. My other volunteer and close friend, Josh Haise, really helped out with the construction and creation of the tombstones.
Near the end of the night, though everyone was getting tired, we all pressed on. At the end of the night I felt like a slave driver, and Josh thought the same, so we took this picture:
In total I estimate I and my YAL chapter put about eight hours of prep time into this activism and a day’s worth of activism time. We ended up getting no media attention but did get a fairly large amount of Facebook discussion and buzz on campus. Our Toledo YAL chapter is surely but slowly becoming the foremost political group on campus, and we are all hard at work to make sure that happens so we can make a positive effect on our community.
P.S. Here is a gallery of our tombstones. Feel free to copy the text for your chapter (or just some kick-butt Halloween decorations)!