In the last week my art and creative activist self marched twice.
MLK Day of Service, AmeriCorps VISTA:
VISTA Volunteers and AmeriCorps members participate in two National Days of Service, and MLK Day is one of them. We began by joining Berea College and the Berea community at Union Church for several speeches and inspirational music. Then we marched down Chestnut Street.
In the afternoon, my fellow VISTA Leader organized a letter writing campaign for women at the New Opportunity School for Women and seniors in local high schools, with the help of KyCC VISTAs from northern KY.
I also joined the historic Women’s March in Lexington, KY on 1/21/16. I really wanted to be in the original, in D.C., but the time and cost became prohibitive. Lexington did not disappoint though!
Highlights: Getting there early and walking to Cheapside Bar in order to sit the same booth I sat in with O in August. On my way I saw a rough looking character setting up to play street music. He had several musical instruments: guitar, harmonica, something on his foot that looked like a little cymbal but I didn’t want to stare. I must have been oozing activism because he smiled and asked “goin’ to the march?”
Cheapside was almost empty at first, but by the time I was scarfing my salmon it was full of sports fans bleeding blue, and women wearing glowing pink pussy hats. The waitress called me “lady bug” — an endearment I haven’t heard since living near Owensboro.
By the time I got back to the square in front of the Fayette Circuit Court a vast crowd was gathering. I was so inspired by the mix, a beautiful balance of and young/old, single/couples, men/women, able/disabled. Everyone was waving clever, pointed, vicious, hilarious signs – except me, it seemed. So I found a group with stacks of Planned Parenthood signs and was gifted a big red one with a message to the current administration about keeping their hands off my uterus.
The speaker line up was impressive, but the talking went on too long. They almost lost me and most of the crowd after #6, when I milled around a bit and found a couple of fellow co-workers as well as my old friend April, who is recovering from a loss similar to mine, of O.
But I decided to walk alone. A great surge of us finally started moving to the march route, right in the middle of downtown. While walking we chanted, we sang. Our numbers were so many we could see streams of ourselves moving in opposite directions at the end of the long side streets. Later I heard we had over 5,000 marchers.
So amazing, so much fun and felt so good I couldn’t believe it took me 58 years to march political.