Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today's Picnic-In

Today was a GORGEOUS day for a Picnic-in at the Capitol. Somehow, I just love hearing my girls talk about "going to the Capitol" every Thursday. A month ago this wasn't a word in their vocabulary and now we regularly have conversations about what it is to live in a democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and how dissent is an important component of good decision making.

We had a smaller crowd today but were deeply honored to have Katherine Waddell, the newly elected President of Women's Strike Force, and her close friend, Joyce Scher, join us today. It was great to hear their passion and they opened our eyes a little further today... Did you know the House of Delegates passed a mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound bill LAST YEAR but they were quiet enough about it and because Democrats controlled the Senate the bill didn't go anywhere? Sheesh. Talk about asleep at the kitchen sink just trying to get dinner made. I had no idea.

Speaking of not-so-little political items that I had missed as I focused on education, career, and family over the past 30 years. Did you know that Virginia is one of 15 states that still has not affirmed the Equal Rights Amendment? Seriously? This is an amendment women have been fighting for since 1923. Think about that. Women are not written into the U.S. Constitution as equals although we have been requesting such wording for 89 years. I think one of the most beautiful turnarounds we could see as a result of the 2012 spring follies would be to see this amendment passed as a direct result of women getting ACTIVE. What say you Mamas? Don't the women who posed in this picture back in 1915 deserve our commitment to their cause, which is really our cause and the cause of our daughters and granddaughters?

Image from Valentine Richmond History Center

Sorry. Off my stump. Back to the Picnic-Ins.

Those of us there for our third week in a row affirmed our commitment to maintaining a presence at the Capitol. We spoke of the Civil Rights protestors who pledged to walk EVERYWHERE for a full year after Rosa Parks' arrest for not giving up her bus seat. If they can walk everywhere for a year, we can pack up the kids and go to the Capitol every Thursday. It is a small effort and a monumental effort all at the same time. But we will make the effort to continue our physical presence because we plan to keep talking and identifying opportunities to make a difference.

We also talked about the importance of oversight and being a witness to political events. To that end, I spoke on the phone today to one of the women arrested on March 3rd and mentioned the idea that some of the mothers might like to come to the scheduled arraignment on March 30th. She was pleased mothers would make an effort to show support and continue to bear witness to the freedom of speech/freedom of assembly issue raised March 3rd. The other mothers at the Capitol today are very much behind this idea and we will begin to coordinate next Friday shortly. If you have any particular ideas about an appropriate way in which we can bear witness make sure to leave a note in the comment section. If we lose / give up our right to free speech and assembly, how much of a democracy will we really have left?

So. In a nutshell.
  • Mothers are amazing and we will continue to observe, bear witness, and talk, talk, talk.
  • This Saturday come get inspired at the Byrd Theatre at 1 PM.
  • Next Thursday another Picnic-In (to accommodate the hot sun and small children we have moved to the big shade trees to the right as you stand on the steps and look down Bank Street)
  • Next Friday we will have an actionable item related to the arraignment of those arrested on March 3rd.

We know you are busy. So are we. Find some time and do what you can. You will be welcomed anytime you can make it and missed when you cannot.

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