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People’s Convoy Leaves Texas, Continues through California

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Support of the People's Convoy. | Image by Aaron of L.A. Photography on Shutterstock

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Brian Brase was once just a trucker from Ohio. Today, he is also a co-organizer of the People’s Convoy, a caravan of 18-wheelers and cars that arrive and circle the streets in any given town while honking their horns in protest of COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates.

Brase launched the People’s Convoy movement without any intent to promote hatred after learning that friends and family members were losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

“My friends don’t want to take the vaccine,” he said. “These guys have careers in the military, and now it’s going to be cut short because of this. I have family members who work in the healthcare industry and law enforcement, all of whom are being affected by the mandates.”

Americans have mixed reactions to the People’s Convoy. For example, kids in the Bay Area threw eggs at the truckers while the mayor of Big Spring, Texas, rolled out the red carpet.

The tipping point for Big Spring Mayor Shannon D. Thomason was watching the Canadian Freedom Convoy of truckers rebel against the Canadian government on television and then seeing the People’s Convoy in the United States.

“I had already been considering withdrawing the [COVID] emergency declaration, so when a council member brought it up, I went on ahead and took action and quoted what was going on in Canada and here with the People’s Convoy in the declaration ending the emergency,” he said.

Mayor Thomason ended the city’s COVID emergency declaration on February 22, and the People’s Convoy subsequently drove through Big Spring on their way to California on April 4.

“I knew they were going to be passing through because I had been keeping track of them, so when citizens who had been following them very closely reached out to me and asked if there was anything the city could do to help them out, we jumped into action and took care of it,” Mayor Thomason told The Dallas Express.

In addition to passing through Big Spring, the People’s Convoy camped at the Airpark and held a rally.

“I actually met them on the interstate in my car and led them to the location,” Mayor Thomason said in an interview. “I’m very sympathetic to the cause, and I was just glad to do it. They are welcome back anytime. We’d love to have them.”

Big Spring was just one of many stops for the People’s Convoy. After leaving the crossroads of West Texas, the truckers drove on to hold rallies in Los Angeles on April 10 and Sacramento on April 18, where they protested vaccine mandates.

“They’ve got a big job ahead of them in California right now, with the COVID mandates that the legislature is trying to pass down,” Mayor Thomason added. “Most of my citizens are aligned with the convoy’s intent to oppose mandates. I certainly am. It was a great opportunity for the city to welcome some like-minded individuals and host them here.”

The People’s Convoy is targeting California because organizers believe the Golden State is a trendsetter for other states in the rest of the nation.

“The history shows that the direction California goes is how the rest of the nation will go when it comes to approving some of these laws,” Brase told The Dallas Express. “At least for all the blue states, they seem to follow whatever California does. So, we found it extremely important to get to California and try to shut this down as quickly as we could.”

The bills that the People’s Convoy opposes include SB 871, which would add the COVID-19 vaccine to a list of required vaccinations for public and private school attendance; SB 866, which lowers the age of vaccine consent to 12 years old without parental consent; and AB 1797, which would give all government agencies access to the vaccine records of every citizen.

Since the convoy barreled into California, SB 871 was rescinded.

“Some of these bills out here are extremely horrible, very unconstitutional, and inhumane,” said fellow trucker Michael Landis, who co-organized the convoy with Brase. “They go against a lot of morals of our founding fathers. And if we have the opportunity to stop them out here before they get put in place, then we’re ahead of the game because after they get put in place, it’s more difficult because what we see in California ends up spreading across the country.”

The People’s Convoy reimburses participants for the fuel they use while driving along. Over $1.8 million has been collected so far from donations.

Unlike their Canadian trucker counterparts, who have had their funds frozen online, the People’s Convoy has not had any money seized by the government.

“We stay away from crowdsourcing,” Brase said in an interview. “We went through a private conservative bank, set up a website, and work closely with a 501(c)3 nonprofit to collect donations, so we haven’t had any issues with the government trying to take the funds away.”

The Associated Press reported that Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who participated in a People’s Convoy event in March outside the Capitol, views the truckers as heroes. Meanwhile, Boston University School of Law’s Karen Pita Loor said such conservatives were “two-faced,” voicing her opinion that legislators like Senator Cruz support the People’s Convoy, yet supporters of Black Lives Matter protests are labeled “thugs.”

The People’s Convoy is rumored to peddle “hatred” and “far-right rhetoric” because of some of the followers it has attracted.

“When I visited the Hagerstown encampment, numerous people wore Proud Boy sweatshirts or had Three Percenter patches on their jackets,” wrote Terry Bouton for NBC News about a People’s Convoy event in Maryland last month. “I was told that other members of both groups were there in street clothes. One guy I spoke to claimed to have entered the Capitol on January 6.”

The Three Percenters are allegedly an anti-government militia, while The Proud Boys, co-lead by Enrique Tarrio, are accused of being neo-fascists.

Despite the opposition, the People’s Convoy is continuing its crusade. The next stop is reportedly the Canadian border, according to Landis.

“We’ve been talking with the Canadians a lot,” Landis told The Dallas Express. “We’re talking about making this a joint effort between America and Canada as governments are afraid when people come together. The world should be afraid when countries start coming together because there’s been a lot of evil and bad things that the governments around the world have done to the people, so we may end up having a couple of border meets with the Canadians.”

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