“There’s a movement building, and it’s spreading like wildfire,” announced Rafe Lieber of Citizens for Access to the Arts at a rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall early in January. With politicians, celebrities, a brass band and a screaming crowd, any passerby would conclude that some popular uprising was in the works.
Speaker after speaker, including City Council members and even Brooklyn-native actress Rosie Perez, gave impassioned speeches about the importance of providing access to art to young people, leading the crowds in chants of, “We’re not gonna stop!” “Fuel our dreams!” “We’re coming for you!” and, most frequently, “Save Ovation!”
The participants were decrying the decision of Time Warner Cable to deny the arts network Ovation TV to poor and minority viewers. Cheering along with them, I suddenly heard a cell phone ring. The woman behind me, a fellow protester, answered, saying, “Can you call me back? I’m at work.”