Rise Up Greencastle becomes one of many communal political responses

Demonstrators creating signs before standing in front of the courthouse during International Women’s Day on March 8. MARIA MENDEZ / THE DEPAUW

   Rise Up Greencastle is a nonpartisan activist group that was founded proceeding the Women’s March on Washington.

    Rise Up falls under an activist group called Putnam County Greater Good, who often coordinate and organize demonstrations in Putnam County. “Rise Up Greencastle is really focused on political action and advocacy and there’s a lot of letter writing to people in Congress, it’s a political action group,” JD Grove, owner of Conspire Crafts said.

    However, the group’s focus is not about political parties. “It’s not really a partisan group, so it’s not like you have to be a certain political party to be apart of it,” Dana Dudle, Professor of Biology, said.

    While Grove described the group as a political action group, Professor Dana Dudle believes it to be more casual. “It is just a very casual, not particularly well-organized e-mail list,” Dudle said.

    “The first meeting was a post-card signing, it wasn’t really even a meeting… the second meeting was what the Women’s March called, ‘a huddle’, and there is sort of a scripted spend the first forty minutes on this and the next forty minutes on that,” Jeanette Pope, Associate Professor of Geosciences, said.

    Rise Up members do not plan on following a specific agenda, said Pope. “The meeting worked absolutely fine it’s just that it turns out that people don’t necessarily want to follow an agenda, so what we did instead was sort of say, who are we, what do we care about, what do we want and it’s really an opportunity to say what do we think needs to happen”.  

    Along with letter writing and holding meetings, the group also holds demonstrations in the square on Fridays in order to raise awareness of issues that they are for. “It [the signs] is not usually against anything, usually the signs are for things,” Dudle said. Since the group is nonpartisan, they tend to hold signs that show support for certain government organizations.

    “Those events [the protests] have been met with mixed receptions very seldomly there have been negative reactions- we got called a derogatory name, people yell but mostly people sort of ignore us… and then we’ve gotten lots of positive, like ‘yay’ or honks or cheers or things like that,” Pope said. Pope also said that her most satisfying moment was a group of high school students passing by in a car, cheering in agreement.

    Dudle said students who are interested in Rise Up are welcome to attend meetings. “There are actually some students on the list… I’m happy to have the students come, I think the students should come and hold signs with us every once in awhile if they want to”, said Dudle.

    Although Rise Up does not yet have a vision, those who partake in Rise Up activities have ideas of what the group’s vision may entail. “... the vision of more progressive attitudes, more open attitudes, being brought to this community and we are just trying to figure out how we might be able to do that”, Pope said.