So… Let me start by saying that, if you’re going to send out an email to the entire company informing them that… at 4:00 there is going to be a protest at the corner of anywhere and anywhere… it MIGHT should be received by the populous before 4:01… just saying. I mean if I wanted to attend, I was late and if I wanted to avoid it and I left at 4:00 I would be toast. I’ve heard of location location location… timing timing timing is everything…
That little irritant was partly because I knew that I had to BE at the corner of anywhere and anywhere at 5 to pick up squirrel girl at barber college… that location is half a block south of the protest. I knew traffic was going to be horrible. I was worried it would not be pretty being in that neighborhood.
I was only right in that I had to park 8 blocks away from where I usually park and it was freaking cold and I knew Squirrel would never find the car after school… so I had to go walk down and get her. I was also right that traffic was not pretty.
In the park where she likes to hang out… in the shadow of West Side Market… was the protest. I didn’t get to see much of it because I didn’t get there until 4:44 but what was still in the square were cold peaceful protesters.
Some were protesting the wall. Some were protesting the immigration ban. Some were protesting environmental concerns.
There were not thousands of people, but Ohio City isn’t massive. There were a few hundred.
There was an awful lot of people praying. I guess Christians protest too when they are scared for their country.
But you know… there were 3 things that struck me most…
- As I got to within a block and a half of the protest, I saw a couple dozen bicycle police officers riding their bikes in a line. That had to be frigid cold because there was a pretty stiff breeze and it was a toasty 24 degrees Fahrenheit. These officers were not chasing rowdies. They were not simply keeping order. They were fist pumping the air as they circled the block showing their solidarity with the protesters.
- One woman from West Side Market brought over a case of blueberries and a sleeve of paper cups and was handing out her profits to the protesters. She was handing out blueberries and drinks from one of the huge orange coolers. She was not dressed for the weather but she was out there helping the people who were marching in the way she knew how to best.
- It was a freaking cold day in Cleveland and nearly everyone was dressed for the weather. You know what? You could not tell what religious preference anyone had. You could not tell what nationality or “race” someone was except between the tops of scarves and the bottom of knit hats. All you could really tell is that humanity was gathered together, shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, side by side, trying to have their voices heard. There was not a single piece of litter on the ground (however the ice and snow in the square was kind of dirty and yicky and footing was sometimes a bit dicey). The protesters where coming together with their neighbors simply to be heard.
There was unease. There was fear. There was shame. There was no hate and no violence.
I wasn’t thrilled to be driving into the traffic mess and I wasn’t thrilled to be driving into the ice mess (they SO don’t clear the side streets or many of the sidewalks) but I’m glad I got to see this protest, even if I missed out on most of it.
I’m scared for my country. I’m scared for my sisters from other misters and my brothers from other mothers (thank you South Africa for really teaching me that one). But I’m not scared of the people with huge hearts who only want the world to know that there is dissent in the ranks and that there is love.
Love and light
and flowers of peace
Our best approach is to remind the comfortable of our discomfort. I am very uncomfortable these days.
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