The Chicken Wranglers

Our little group formed in the weeks before the April 15, 2017 Tax March. We are a group of people who never would have met during the regular course of our lives, but now have become close over our shared ownership of a 33-foot Trump Chicken.

Anne was laid up from a climbing accident when she volunteered to lead the Tax March. With her fractured leg immobilizing her, she was frustrated she could not march. Then it occurred to her that instead she could organize the march.

Photo by Mary M. DeShaw

The only problem was that she’d never done anything like this before, and neither had most of the people who volunteered. Monica, an event planner, took over the permits and the port-a-potties, arranging the infrastructure for the march. Danelle, a journalist, did media and helped Anne with the fundraising; Danelle also discovered the Trump Chicken that would become our mascot. We had the help of an artist who designed and printed the banners and signs, and Carina, a website designer, handled our website and online communications. Stephan, a veteran of decades of protest marches, did the critical work of recruiting and training our Peace Force, providing civilian security for our march. Organizational mastermind Roger joined in the last three weeks, and none of us have ever forgotten that night. He watched us as we discussed all the things that were still left undone, all the essentials we feared we didn’t have time to complete and said, “you guys really seem like you’ve got it together from the outside, but you’re really a mess.” He saved the march in dozens of ways, and has been the glue that holds us together.

After the march, Roger wanted us to stay in contact. As a veteran of political organizing, he appreciated our mix of skills and smooth collaboration that could be strong foundation for future actions. And besides, we had ended up with four chickens: 33, 14, 10 and 6 feet tall. It would be a shame not to make use of them somehow.

We were having our monthly meeting early in August when the Nazi rally scheduled for Crissy Field was announced. Taran Singh Brar, organizer of the Chicago Tax March, had just that week inflated the 33-foot Trump Chicken on the Ellipse behind the White House to international acclaim. We were excited by that and discussed how to bring the chicken to Crissy Field, but feared harm might come to the chicken. When a mysterious wrangler known only as “The Admiral” suggested we photobomb the rally by floating our biggest bird behind them under the Golden Gate, we all leapt at the idea. The minute the permit was granted for the rally, we put up a GoFundMe that raised over $10,000 in 36 hours!

The sad tale of the many ways we failed to accomplish this feat can be read in our GoFundMe update to our donors asking them to trust us and allow us to keep the money. A huge majority decided to let us keep the funds, allowing us to plan better for the next event. When we met in December 2017 we noted that President’s Day was coming up. None of us are sure who suggested we dress the big bird in a prison shirt and float him around Alcatraz, but all of us agreed it was a great idea. With what we’d learned from our mistakes in August, and with ten weeks to plan, we felt confident we could accomplish our task. You can read the tale of what it took here.

Our President’s Day weekend Chicken of the Sea event did not use up all our funds. It has strengthened our collaborative skills.

See you soon!