In 1955, the Montgomery bus boycott began. It all started when a hard working woman refused to move to the back of the bus, like she had done for as long as she could recall.
That seemingly insignificant refusal changed the course of history. It must have been difficult for so many black Americans to walk to and from work every day until the rules were changed. It must’ve been painful, both physically and financially. Yet they did it and it paid off and they made the world a better place for their children.
One week from now we will have the opportunity to do the same.
Despite the DNC’s relentless efforts to curtail the mass migration of concerned citizens from descending upon Philadelphia, millions of people, myself included, are still going to attend.
Reports indicate that jails are being prepared for mass arrests, a wall is being constructed around the convention site, curfews are expected and Bernie’s permit for a massive rally scheduled on July 24, the day before the convention has been denied.
Additionally, only days after clearing Congress, President Barack Obama signed his name to H.R. 347, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events, essentially criminalizing protest in the United States.
With each blow delivered by the establishment, like a billy club to the head, it becomes more important that we appear in Philadelphia to peacefully decry the disintegration of our human rights.
Change has never come about easily in this country. Change takes a lot of courage, a lot of endurance, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of people.
A lot of people who all want the same thing : order, decency and justice.
When I put in my request to use my remaining five vacation days, I mentioned to my manager that I was choosing these dates specifically so that I could attend the DNC in Philadelphia.
She looked at me quizzically and asked, “Are you sure you want to do that? Wouldn’t you rather go relax Costa Rica or something?”
For a moment, I admired a vision of myself on a beach, frozen drink in hand with only the sound of waves in my ears. No ringing phones, no pressures, no deadlines.
“Yes,” I replied. “I would rather do that but right now I think it’s more important that I go stand with people who insist that it is our right to get paid $15 an hour. It is important to let it be known that I insist on healthcare for all. I must go stand and let people know that I do not agree with the status quo”.
“Well OK then…,” she said as she approved my request.
I am lucky to have a job that gives me paid vacation time. I am lucky and that I have a friend in Philadelphia who I could stay with. I am lucky that my daughter is with her father for the summer, so I don’t have to find a babysitter.
I understand that everyone is not so lucky. However, I implore you to find a way. Ask your friends and neighbors for help, ask your coworkers to pick up your shifts and come to Philadelphia!
Some people will be arrested, but millions will not. We will walk peacefully through the streets and even if it is not televised, people will know that we are there and our voices will be heard.
Only then will I be able to relax.