Excerpted from an article in the Portland Mercury
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY OF A PROTEST Our first nominee in the category for Best Choreography of a Protest goes to the men from Dignity Village.
In 1981, the city devised an anti-camping ban that encouraged police to keep the homeless endlessly moving along. Since then, the police (encouraged by our own Mayor Katz) have played a tired game of Tom and Jerry with the homeless, chasing them from one bad situation to another. Last fall, after being chased from underneath the Broadway Bridge, a group of 30 or so homeless men organized a shopping cart parade. Their carts rattling through Old Town gave a figurative middle finger to Mayor Katz, and a symbolic "Up yours!" to the Chief of Police. The men have since re-settled on the fringe of the coveted Pearl District, underneath the concrete off-ramp for I-405. Christening their new home Dignity Village, these men and women easily earn the nomination for Best Choreography of a Protest!
Our second group of nominees arrived on the Portland scene in November 1999: A group calling themselves the Radical Cheerleaders began showing up at local protests wearing pieced-together uniforms and shouting vitriolic cheers. Last summer, in response to visits to local high schools by the Reverend Fred Phelps--a Nebraska-based anti-gay leader--the cheerleaders marched in the Gay Pride Parade. At the May Day march, three of their members were arrested. Their most recent sighting? Outside the Roseland Theater, where young fans lined up to see the controversial group, the Bloodhound Gang. Protesting the racist and sexist lyrics of the group, the Cheerleaders sprightly chanted, "Stop! Resist the Hate! Don't participate!" and "U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly!" Some of the fans responded with their own chants; for example, "show us your tits!" and "fuck you, faggots!"
Our final nominee has been a mysterious force in Portland for years. Like politically concerned tooth fairies, the Lesbian Avengers use the cloak of darkness in order to chalk the sidewalks near PSU campus with gay-friendly messages and pictures. And though they may have been quiet recently, the Lesbian Avengers made several rousing appearances shouting down supporters of the Machiavellian Measure 9.
Now, the envelope, please. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the winners of Best Choreography of a Protest the Radical Cheerleaders!