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News ::
Protest Plebe (english)
31 Mar 2003
Reflections of an activism neophyte
I imagine there are an awful lot of people like me out there. We care very much about our families, friends and communities and volunteer time for causes we feel are important and interesting. I’ve been a youth minister, an activities leader with homeless kids, a court advocate and a domestic violence crisis counselor: but I've never been a standing-on-the-corner-holding-a-sign-and-yelling kind of person until now. And what I’m finding out is that it can be kind of scary!

A week ago I was at Copely, holding a sign that read, “Hate is easy. Love takes courage.” Well I couldn’t believe the measure of shit I got from passing motorists! The verbal abuse and hatred was absolutely staggering. I was cursed at, called names and even had some trash thrown at me. I was in shock! This was something completely outside my realm of experience; to be treated with hate by people who didn’t even know me. And all this as I’m standing there holding a message of love. Talk about an eye-opener!

I was so angry and sad as I rode the T home. My happy little rose-colored world of doing good had deflated. I didn’t want to do this anymore if no one was going to appreciate it. I was really pathetic. Luckily, with a lot of prayer and reflection that night on writing by Dorothy Day, Ghandi, Mother Teresa and ML King Jr, I was able to pull my head out of my butt and refocus on what’s really important. So my feelings got hurt. Well, “Boo Hoo!” As an old friend used to say, “You’ve got 3 choices: You can suck it up, deal with it, or get over it!” I opted for all three.

I know a lot of you are reading this and thinking, “What a candy-ass! Welcome to the real world!” Okay, I probably deserve that. But I just wanted to remind you that there are an awful lot of us candy-ass people out there who are new to the idea of making our voices heard. Often we come on our own to the protests, demos and marches. We’re still new to this, but we’re standing up for peace and justice. And yes, in a lot of ways we are “middle America”, suburbia and white bread, but we’re trying to be part of the solution, not the problem.

One last thought: I was very impressed at the lack of response from the marchers on M29 to the counter-demonstrators. They were clearly there to anger and provoke, and I was so happy that the pro-peace demonstrators refused to take the bait! Also, I for one was very impressed with the non-threatening behavior of the police at the Peace Rally. I know there have been mixed opinions about that, but they didn’t seem at all menacing to me, and I think they’re to be commended.
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