If you are an activist receiving emails from an outfit calling itself “National March on the NRA,” be forewarned. It’s not being organized by the young people from Parkland (though you’ll hear their voices in the intro video) or any of the other groups you might have heard of leading the fight for Second Amendment sanity.
The “Voter Reg Street Party” on July 20 and the “March” in Fairfax (where the NRA is headquartered) the following day both have “TBA” locations. This thing is a production of “The Presidential House,” which is, in turn, a creation of Lawrence Deshawn Silva Nathaniel.
Remember him? He’s the guy who organized the Rally at the Border,’scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Ysidro. It never happened.
Back then there were claims that organizers’ lives were being threatened. The truth was there were no permits, little actual money, and no buy-in from activist organizations working on immigration and border-related issues.
Local organizers got stuck holding the bag for an event with 1600+ RSVPs on Facebook. The real cost was the destruction of spirit in young people seeking to become politically active.
Nathaniel’s first venture I’m aware of (there may be more) was the “Unity Day of Color,” promised for July 2, 2016, as a memorial march for victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. According to a press release, more than 22,000 people were expected, and the event was to be “simulcast in London, Canada, South Africa as well as other countries.” Nathaniel was listed as event director.
On July 1, 2016, another press release was issued announcing a change to an unspecified date and downgrading the expected attendance to 1-2,000 people. There was a new person listed as March Director, and Nathaniel’s name was nowhere to be found.
He next appeared as the organizer for the January 27, 2018 “National People’s March on Washington.” There were claims Nathaniel tried to piggyback his event on the second Women’s March. After months of controversy, including charges the protest was somehow part of a Russian conspiracy, it did in fact happen.
Here’s a snip from an article I wrote for Daily Kos about the National People’s March, warning folks to be careful:
The website for People Demand Action, the organization claiming responsibility for the march, is copyrighted by the “We Are One Foundation,” which is nothing more than a website copyrighted by Presidential House USA, aka “The United States of America Presidential House” whose Facebook page was created in 2009 and was officially incorporated in October 2017.
These websites are all populated with clipart, and otherwise well designed. Except there’s nothing there beyond platitudes. No names, places, or things beyond this dude exist.
Specifics are of the “tba” persuasion, with the exception of announcements on the Presidential House Facebook page announcing Lawrence D. Nathaniel’s–as Founding President of the United States Presidential House–picks for his cabinet, including Secretary of Education and ‘Director of Economic Council’.
It’s difficult to tell for sure whether he’s setting up a shadow government or is simply delusional.
There are also ‘presidential’ statements in response to holidays and tragedies in the news. And an announcement for a Black Music Matters concert in Washington DC on February 17. Location, artists, etc, ‘tba.’
Hundreds of thousands of people were predicted to descend on Washington DC on January 27.
About 2000 showed up.
UPDATE: A reader alerted me to the fact of the crowd count referenced above as being incorrect. Here’s a screenshot of the rally from CSPAN.
What the People March and the Rally at the Border have in common with the National March on the NRA are slickly produced websites long on visuals and short on specifics.
The latest email to land in my inbox says:
“We are looking for young people 12 – 30 years of age to join our team. We will also pay for you and one guest to fly and stay in Fairfax, VA.”
Make sure you get a two-way ticket.
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