Reportback from the NNAL Tour:
The NNAL Tour's first stop in North Carolina was Asheville for a workshop at Firestorm Café & Books, a worker-owned community space filled with independently-published books, social movement artwork, and a welcoming energy. We talked with a full room about the NNAL campaign, and we were excited to see the audience connect the ideas of the campaign to their own work and show an interest in getting more involved. It was a great kickoff to several protests in North Carolina.
The next stop in the state was Charlotte, where the first protest began in the evening in the neighborhood of Kevin Hutchinson, a Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President with Skanska. Someone knocked on Kevin's door to ask him to talk about his role at Skanska, but he quickly said that he did not want to talk and closed the door. Protesters then marched throughout the neighborhood, chanting about Skanska's plans to build an underground animal lab. Neighbors from all down the street gathered to see what was going on -- kids on bikes, curious parents -- most were interested in taking information to learn more about the No New Animal Lab campaign and Skanska.
From Kevin's house, the protesting moved to the house of John Dykstra, a Vice President with Skanska, as the night grew dark. After writing chalk messages throughout the cul-de-sac where John's house sits, protesters went to his front door, where there was no answer...so the protest began on his front step. The sounds of it surely echoed into the house and throughout the cul-de-sac in the sleepy neighborhood. When the protest quieted, the people left, leaving behind the chalk messages.
The final stop of the night was the neighborhood of Robert Kraft, a Chief Information Officer with Skanska. In the quiet of the late hours of the night, the only sounds to be heard were those of chalk scraping over pavement. The street leading to Robert's house was covered in chalk messages, revealing that Skanska is "kraft"-ing a new animal lab. The next morning, the neighborhood awoke to a colorful street, the writings revealing Robert's association with animal torture as well as how much work can be done during the night.
The next day, a quick stop was made in the neighborhood of Steven Stouthamer. After the long Labor Day weekend, a message of "Welcome Home Steve and Lorie" was left in front of their driveway. Skanska executives may try to retreat to enjoy holiday weekends, but they can't escape the campaign for long. Animals in labs don't get to enjoy vacations, so Skanska executives need to stop thinking that they get to do so.