Juggalos march on Washington, D.C.
by Natalie Fertig/Circa
WASHINGTON - The hotel room in southwest D.C. smelled like weed and pizza.
At the table, a shirtless man called "Poncho" ironed sparkly silver letters onto a set of tie-dye tees. His friend "Diggity" stood nearby monologuing, long wavy hair threatening to cascade forward over his shoulders as he gestured animatedly at the corner of the table.
“What music you listen to shouldn’t discriminate anything,” declared Diggity, sprinkling his diatribe with f-bombs. “Especially what unit you get put in in a f---ing jail, whether you get hired someplace, or whether you can get, f---ing, your child in a custody battle or so forth.”
Poncho pulled the ironing fabric away from the tie-dye shirts. They read “First Amendment Warrior.”
"It's a brotherhood. It's like a fraternity, almost," Diggity added. "A f---ing white trash fraternity."
It was close to midnight on a Friday night, and across Washington D.C., Juggalos were preparing to partake in that truest of American political activities: a march on Washington, D.C.
On September 16, 2017, fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, better known as “Juggalos,” marched on Washington, D.C. to protest the FBI’s 2011 categorization of their subculture as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” Juggalos argue that the designation is based solely on the music they like and the clothing they wear, rather than actual gang activity. Being on a gang list, according to these Juggalos, makes it hard for them to get a job or join the military.
In 2014, the ACLU of Michigan, along with Insane Clown Posse (ICP), opened a suit against the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of Juggalos, on the grounds that “their constitutional rights to expression and association were violated.” But three years later, the suit is still in court and the designation still stands. According to the march's website, the ACLU and ICP face another court date on October 11, 2017.
Hoaxx, also known as James Stone, is a dog groomer and small business owner from Chattanooga, Tenn. He and his girlfriend, Trixie, drove over 300 miles to Washington, D.C. on Friday picking up Poncho and Diggity on the way. They don’t travel often, but the Saturday march was important enough to bring them north.
“[The FBI gang listing] opens the door for a lot of discrimination against us,” said Hoax as he stood by the reflecting pool in the waning post-march sunlight on Saturday. “Auto red flags when the cops see us, people are on their toes around us. It affects us everywhere.”