I don’t normally post anecdotal entries, but this is obviously an exception.
I was riding my bicycle around downtown after an hour of work on Saturday, and I spotted my friend Rayford crouched down on Main St, shooting pictures of the War on Women rally at the Statehouse. After speaking to him for a few minutes, we walked across Gervais St and he continued his work while I listened to the speakers. If you click the picture, it takes you directly to his site. Other relevant links are below.
Shortly after listening to the rally organizer speak, I noticed her making her way towards the back of the audience — and, of course, she made her way over to me. [edit: I don’t like talking to strangers much.]
“Thank you so much for coming out!” was followed by a fist-bump (initiated by her). I was completely flummoxed, which was apparently quite obvious because she explained, “You were the person I stared at while giving my speech. You know how they tell you to find that ONE person and talk to them while speaking in public? You were that person.”
I laughed, and then she told me that she was expecting me to speak during the open-mic. Unfortunately, I was completely unprepared for anything remotely close to public speaking at the Statehouse during a War on Women rally in ninety-five degree heat. Also remains the fact that I was one of the few men of color in attendance. Did I mention I was wearing a red tank top, the kind that is commonly referred to as a “wife-beater” in some circles? I must have looked like a thug, and not the glamorized definition of the word, either.
I also listened to a speaker who successfully sued to gain the right to work as the first female page in the Statehouse over forty years ago. She left rather quickly, and I was unable to speak to her.
In any case, enough blathering. I listened to a lot of great speakers and a few duds, listened to some music and read some pamphlets. There were somewhere between 50-55 rallies occuring simultaneously all over the nation, as well. Incidentally, there were eight fellow Occupy Columbia members in attendance, which was good to see — one of my fellow arrestees is pictured, she is in the upper-middle of the photo. See below for links.
http://www.seanrayford.com (photo credit)