Well, it’s Valentines Day, and boy am I feeling the love! Thanks to everyone who prayed for me/held me in the Light during my recent civil disobedience action. I felt so well supported by everyone—especially my family, Chestnut Hill Meeting, and Earth Quaker Action Team. You can see the greeting I got on my release from Amy Ward Brimmer and Ingrid Lakey.
I’ll be writing an article about this leading for Friends Journal and another for Waging Nonviolence, so I won’t say too much here, except to answer the questions that friends have been asking about the experience. Basically it was very exciting to be making this stand with such an impressive group of people. I was particularly pleased to see civil rights leader Julian Bond there, though I didn’t get to talk to him. I did get to talk to a lot of interesting folks, though, and had a great time with a UCC leader from Massachusetts named Jim Antal, who was distributing ashes for Ash Wednesday and had a great sense of humor.
It was very meaningful to me to be standing in the footsteps of Alice Paul, Quaker activist for women’s suffrage who was arrested at the White House several times in actions that helped lead to the vote for women. People from home kept telling me that I was brave, but I was very aware that getting arrested by the DC Park Police in 2013 is much less risky than in other times and places. Alice Paul had it much tougher than I did. One of the guys with us yesterday who is from Texas—the Keystone XL pipeline goes through his family’s front yard—said he couldn’t get over how polite the Park Police were. Guess that’s not the way it works in Texas. Same with Maria Gunnoe, one of our allies from Appalachia, where the police are much, much rougher with activists. And then of course, there are my friends from South Africa who got arrested during apartheid. Although my thumb is still numb from the tight handcuffs, participating in this action felt like a privilege more than a risk.
The most intimidating part was the media spotlight. There were tons of camera people jostling to get in position, though they were more interested in Darryl Hannah and Bob Kennedy than in me. Turns out I’m eating a cookie in all the pictures of Darryl’s arrest, which is my only real disappointment, and that’s just vanity. On the bright side, I’ve done a few interviews in the past few days, which have gone well. Here is a piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer blog.
Thanks to everyone for your support! Hope to see many of you at the march on Sunday.