The Ann Arbor Step It Up 2007 rally was pretty impressive. In freezing weather and high winds, we had between 200 and 300 people show up in the University square. However, I should note that this rally was only one of about 15 within 30 miles from here. I'm not sure how well attended those were, but of course we would have been larger if it had been one rally and not 1,500 across the nation.
Speakers at our event included students, professors, engineers, the mayor, Michigan state congressmen, and our national Rep in congress, Rep. Dingell, author of the Clean Air Act (1990) and current Chairman of the US Energy and Commerce Committee. That makes him one of the most influential people on US energy policy, arguably more so than the President (and yeah, I know Dingell has been a slimeball on the environment before). The speeches were generally good, and the crowd enthusiastic.
There were also about a dozen tables from various local organizations. (They were even giving out free Clif Bars!) An event like this has a few purposes: the explicit one of lobbying congress for change, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to cultivate connections and networking between like-minded people. Social capital, in other words. And if you're familiar with Social Capital Theory, then you know SC is necessary for any prolonged social movement, and for it having any chance of affecting change.
This is a video of the event from Detroit Free Press. If you look closely, you can see both me and my brother.
Pictures to come soon (hopefully)...