Money Trail: Walkers prepare for Phase 2

Last modified: 7/14/2015 7:42:31 PM
As the N.H. Rebellion heads into North Conway today, the walkers are preparing for Phase 2. The thoughtful, lonesome walk in the North Country gives way to an opportunity to make more of a connection in population centers.

In the first four days of the rebellion, the walkers faced extreme cold that left few opportunities to run into people on the street. When they reached downtown Berlin, the first city street on the trail, they spread out armed with brochures about the movement – but the streets were mostly empty.

“We’re still up in the areas that aren’t that populated,” said Rick Hubbard, who is walking with the movement for the second year. “More people came out last year as we moved further south.”

He said it’s important to remember that the walk is about more than just meeting people on the street. It gives an opportunity for activists from various regions of the country to discuss tactics and strategy with one another that they bring back to their homes, he said.

“There are other values to this walk. It pulls people together,” he said.

Many walkers who left Dixville Notch carrying signs had their hands free yesterday. N.H. Rebellion organizer Xanni Brown said she was going to bring out more signs and furnish them with strings and easier ways to be carried.

N.H. Rebellion Director Jeff McLean brought push cards, handouts and new literature for the walkers to distribute. He said the registration count had nearly reached double the number of last year’s rebellion.

The first day of the rebellion saw 15 people join the group just for the day. Since then, the numbers of single-day walkers have dropped to just a few each day.

Mary Redway, who also walked last year, said the addition of three other walks beginning in Portsmouth, Keene and Nashua may have changed the dynamic. When the group went between Concord and Nashua, people left on their lunch break to join the rebellion last year, she said.

“I think (the Dixville Notch route) is going to be very different from the other walks,” she said.

She said after North Conway, where N.H. Rebellion founder Lawrence Lessig held an event and spoke to a group there, the group started to get recognized more often and engaged with more locals.

“I think some people in the group now are wondering when are we going to do this? It’s nice to walk, but when are we going to spread our message?” she said.

Kai Newkirk of the group 99 Rise, which is a network of activists dedicated to getting money out of politics, joined the N.H. Rebellion yesterday. He was inspired by the rebellion to create a similar walk of nearly 500 miles from Los Angeles to Sacramento, Calif. He told the walkers their perseverance was having an effect across the country.

“It’s planting all kinds of seeds that you don’t even know of that are going to bear fruit in all kinds of ways,” he said.

U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who walked in the rebellion last year, also sent a message to the party via video.

“It is making an amazing difference,” he said. “The movement that you’re a part of is really pushing on us here in Washington.”

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325 or or on Twitter @NickBReid.)

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