Where Have You Been?
Over the last couple of weeks I have heard that question in my head.
I’m not hearing voices but my sometimes overactive imagination could hear my fellow Bees asking me why my presence on beBee has been infrequent of late.
It had nothing to do with beBee, nor was it due to any dispute with any of the Bees.
I’ve been ‘mulling’, considering my life, my options, and quite frankly like many Americans at this time in history; the state of my country. I haven’t taken the transition well. Let’s face it! I have been royally pissed off that my fellow countrymen/women could believe that this was a path the country should follow.
Image: 88.5 WFDD Radio website
So these were my options
I could sit and wallow in that anger and just rant against the heavens
I could do something.
I’ve chosen to do something.
About damn time Pam!
On January 21st I joined thousands of my fellow Triad citizens in a local Women’s March. Compared to the crowds in Washington our group may seem rather small but when you consider that the organizers were expecting 1000 at the most, it was pretty fabulous!
We met in a courtyard at the Government Plaza in downtown Greensboro and the courtyard was packed. They were people standing in the balconies as well as spreading out for almost an entire city block. I walked to the back of the crowd to see just how many were crammed into what now seemed like a very small courtyard.
The passage was not easy because we were packed in like a tin of sardines. I was amazed when I reached the street and saw that people continued to arrive. They came from all directions and the sidewalks were full. Entire families were arriving with children in tow and some pushing strollers. I couldn’t stop smiling! This was MY United States of America.
Since the organizers had not planned on this large number of people the speaker system was insufficient. We couldn’t hear the first set of speakers but a system quickly developed where by word-of- mouth the order was given to about-face and march to our rear in the direction LeBauer Park, a new city park that had recently opened to the public.
Since I was now near the back of this large crowd I ended up being near the front of the march with a couple hundred people in front of me. I couldn’t tell you how far we marched because I was too engrossed in the people. I had a long conversation with a woman who was marching in support of the LGBT community. I learned that she and her wife had been married for over 20 years and for the first time in a very long time they were afraid of how their government would interfere with that relationship. They have overcome many obstacles, including being ostracized by members of their family, but through it all they had stood together, loved and supported each other. If that isn’t a marriage can someone please explain what is?
All along the route the city police had side streets blocked off so the marchers were safe from traffic. This was no easy task and I’m sure they dealt with many disgruntled drivers since two of the blocked roads connected the northern and southern parts of the city. They stood there patiently, protecting the marchers and that touched me. I couldn’t stop myself from calling out to some of them: “You’re doing a wonderful job!” “Thank you for your support and we appreciate all that you do for the city”.
I repeated these words throughout the march and at one crossroads I caught the eyes of one young black officer as I spoke and he just nodded but I swear there were tears in his eyes. He too was proud of his city that day. Remember that Greensboro, North Carolina is the site of the Civil Rights Museum (remember my Live Buzz?) where 4 young men took a seat at an All-Whites counter in the local Woolworth store. To make this long story short; they were spat on, had food dumped on them, but they refused to move. They were eventually arrested. This incident was a turning point for the Civil Rights Movement and sparked sit-ins across the southern United States.
Image: 88.5 WFDD Radio website
On this day; January
21, 2017 we were once again marching, and once again fighting for equality.
A sign being carried by an elderly woman in Washington DC that same day said it all:
“I did this 60 years ago, why the
F**k am I still having to march for equal rights”.
When the first of the marchers arrived at LeBauer Park we learned the march was so long that there were people still in the courtyard waiting to begin. Yes, this was MY United States of America.
So you may ask; what about the rest of the time you’ve been absent?
Three or four days were spent recovering from the flu so I could take part in the march. I have also been supporting other marches that will be taking place by spreading the word on social media.
I had the opportunity to attend a press conference on Thursday to hear local immigration leaders and immigrants speak against the recent executive orders banning Muslims and the location and deportation of undocumented Latinos. Some of the immigrants gave heart wrenching stories of fear and uncertainty about their future. One Syrian refugee who happened to be Muslim began her speech by pointing out that she didn’t leave her country by choice. All she wanted was to live in peace, to be accepted for who she was and to become a member of this community and support this country. I should point out that she couldn’t speak a word of English when she came to this country six months ago, but in that short span of time she learned enough English to share her story.
I am very proud to end this post by reporting that our Mayor, City Council, and local Police Department will not actively enforce these executive orders in our city. The Chairman of the Board of Education pleaded with undocumented parents to not be afraid to send their children to school because no one would be questioning their status and the children would be kept safe.
Greensboro Mayor: The Honorable Nancy Barakat Vaughn
Yes, this has been a proud week for this Greensboro resident, for this American citizen. Let Washington do what they will, as for me and my city; we are still the “land of the free home of the brave”.Other Images: courtesy of Triad NC Women's March Facebook Page