I am rarely at a loss for words. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, this is pretty evident by my lengthy posts. Today however is different. All I can say about today is wow.
Now that I've taken some time to process, reflect and put together what I want to post, here is my perspective on the Join the Impact Protest from Raleigh, NC. on Saturday, November 15, 2008. I will preface that this is going to be a long post...so don't say I didn't warn you....
I arrived in Raleigh at around 1:00 and searched around for a parking space for what seemed like forever until I found a visitor parking deck that was open and not requiring payment (woot woot!) and was near the protest location. This was an extra bonus point, since I'm not familiar with Raleigh and would have never found the place on my own...not that I needed to, there were droves of people walking in the same direction and I just followed the pack. Here is a picture of what the area looked like around 1:30:
Honestly, the picture doesn't really do the scene justice....there were 1,400 people there....yeah....again why I needed some time to get past "wow." Notice the nice blue sky with the white puffy clouds....As the speakers were getting started the sky went from friendly blue to.....
and then the rain came....and came....and came...and I really thought people would leave. But they didn't. And then I thought they would stop the speaker (who p.s. didn't have on a rain coat and said, "Don't worry about it, I'm fine" when one of the guys who organized it stepped on stage to hold an umbrella over his head. How bad ass is that???) But they didn't. They just kept talking and we just kept standing and clapping and cheering and getting wet. And they I thought they would cancel the march. But they didn't. And then I thought to myself, "Self, this place will clear out when we get ready to march and it will be like 12 of us soaked on the sidewalk." Did the people leave? Did they say "I'm down with protesting, but I'm not down with getting wet?" No they didn't! Check this out y'all!
Now I didn't realize how many people were there until I walked down the steps from the lawn to get to the sidewalk and there was people everywhere. We shared umbrellas (and then just gave in to being soaked) and shared the moment of knowing we were part of something big. It literally gave me chills to hear from the front to the back "What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!" Over and over and over, cars honking, people giving us thumbs up, and an energy that said, "We are united, we are pissed, and we aren't going anywhere. North Carolina, listen up, pay attention and you better get ready for a revolution because we are." Then we got the governor's mansion and stood outside the gates chanting, when someone hoisted a PRIDE flag onto the flagpole. There was an audible gasp, as I'm still not sure how they did it since the flagpole was inside the gates...and we were outside the gates, but the gasp turned into cheers turned into chanting "Yes we can! Yes we can!" and "Gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right!" and back to the staple of "What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!" By the time we got back to the starting point the sky was now like this:
All in all, not a bad way to end the day...the only thing that would have made it better was if there was a bad ass rainbow in the sky...but you can't have it all...or can you? :-)
Last I leave you with some pictures of signs and posters people had...there were a lot more, but unfortunately I couldn't take as many pictures as I wanted because of the rain, and because of the crowd (I'm short....heads got in the way).
Now it's your turn. If you were at a protest today, put a link to your blog/vlog/website/etc. in the comment section and let me know about it. I leave you with a quote from Ghandi that one of our speakers used today which pretty much sums it all up: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
We will win...we will win.