Sally Speaks Out
A teachers work is never done.
Below is the full transcript of the experience of a woman during the Women’s March that happened earlier this year. The recent peaceful protest was in response to the ever-growing presence of bigotry in our nation, more than likely due to the rise of Lord Volder…I mean Donald J. Trump to the Presidency of the United States of America.
Pianist, Educator, and Activist Sally Applegate-Rodeman has a Facebook page dedicated to blogging her thoughts about our society as a country and race upon this planet. The title of this page is “Sally Speaks Out.”
(Did I mention she was my middle school English teacher? Hope she hasn’t started proof reading my blogs, cause maaaaaaan……)
From educator, to colleague. I am honored to work beside you, as we try to make the world a better place.
Enjoy the read. I know I did.
“Sally Speaks Out: Entry 1. March 14th, 2017.”
My posters were left in DC. By the time my daughter and I got off the Metro and ate an early supper at the station’s food court, fatigue had set in. We were physically spent. We had walked 12 miles during the Women’s March. I placed my 2 homemade posters against the stools where we planned to eat our vegan wraps and went to stand with my daughter Rose in a food line.
When we returned, the posters were gone. This 75 year old body was suddenly relieved not to be carrying them anymore.
The March had been the experience of a lifetime. Rose and I had decided to go together to DC. We both felt strongly that it was our place to be there. It was hard for me, but worth the two grueling all night bus rides to and from DC from Indianapolis. Worth standing in lines for over an hour to pee. Worth being carried along in a press of people, never making it to the stage to hear the speakers, never being able to get even near the stage.
The sheer presence of so many people had made it, of course, impossible to “march”. No striding. We inched our way along, moving in baby steps.
Do not believe any reports of violence or destruction at this March. There was none. The DC police were nice. When they asked for clearance for an emergency vehicle, people tried to clear. The press was so thick that this was difficult to do, but it got done. Everyone seemed spirited, but peaceful. The unity was palpable. Everyone we encountered was friendly, accepting, pleasant, tolerant. There were children. There were seniors. A few folks in wheelchairs were scattered throughout. People around them made way. An “old hippie” played his guitar as folks sang Guthrie’s”This Land is Your Land”. Humor. Helpfulness. Laughter. Kindness. Patriotism. Yes, the “right” does not own patriotism!
I felt love for my country stir within and build as we first left our bus and boarded the metro. That’s where I first heard the waves of joyous shouting sounding from time to time throughout the day. Electric currents of energy infected me. The crowds of women young and old, from everywhere, every state, cheering, standing for what America is all about, brought tears to my eyes. Metro personnel soon had to limit the size of the crowds entering the station at once. They, like the police, were kind and respectful. Some of the escalators had to be shut down temporarily to avoid overload.
There was diversity! Many causes and communities were represented. On my main poster, I wanted to say so much that I would have needed a barn-sized surface. What I did hand letter with my wide tipped marker was–“I MARCH FOR–women’s choice, LGBT’s, veterans, Muslims, disabled, immigrants, Black Lives Matter”. On the back, I wrote “Women: Together We Rise”. My 2nd poster had “Restore Respect for All” on one side, and “We Are True Patriots” on the other.
The variety of artwork on the posters and the number of communities represented revealed a truly democratic tone. The transgender presence made itself clear. The signs showed talent and creativity. One example: “Jewish Women Have Always Been Nasty!” A little boy, maybe 7 years old, was hoisted up onto his father’s shoulders. The boy had a plain white placard with his wobbly letters scrawled in black–simply “Treat Everyone Fairly”. A line of men appeared on a cement wall some 18 feet above the crowd. They chanted, “Men in tights for women’s rights!” They lifted my spirits, for at that moment I’d begun to feel my 70+ years. An African-American women’s dance and drill team beside us began to sing and dance “Nah-nah-nah-nah/Nah-nah-nah-nah/Hey, hey hey–Goodbye!” in an obvious reference to what they wished for Donald Trump.
Yes, there were some anti-Trump chants: “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” but much more often the crowd, in various locations, took up “Show me what democracy looks like–THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” in a call and response style.
When we passed the coterie of Right-to-Lifers on Independence Avenue, complete with cringe-worthy bloody posters, no one confronted them. Instead, the chant “My body; my choice!” overwhelmed the air, with a group of men providing the call/response “Her body; her choice!”–“My body; my choice!”
Our bus transported a cross section of women. The bus administrator, an African-American Muslim in a colorful African head wrap, seemed to me a pillar of calm. In the seats behind us were two women educators, one of whom was a cancer survivor, worried that if she were to need chemo in the future, or surgery, that her “pre-existing” condition would deny her coverage as the Affordable Care Act disappears. We had young lesbians terrified that their hard won rights would again vanish. Veterans, immigrants, disabled, transgender, and many threatened women rode with us.
The heart-centered pride I feel in my 2 activist daughters cannot be described. My attending this march has activated my resolve to stand up and stay awake. Our country needs passionate commitment to what is moral, decent, and kind. I am on board for that!
To follow “Sally Speaks Out” click the link found below.
Sally Speaks Out