Mary Beth Writes

The protests! Amazing, aren’t they?

If you were on the fence about joining Twitter, here’s my strong suggestion. This is absolutely a time to do it. You will see the up front and personal the participation of fellow humans in events that are changing us. You will see the photos and hear the comments that individuals take of the many protests they are attending. You get to see protest signs that make you blink or laugh or choke up.  Like the one I posted here, which brought tears to my eyes.

Twitter isn’t curated and collated. It doesn’t feel like the evening news. You have to look around, you select and deselect who you want to watch. You serendipitously meet strangers who are simpatico. You feel how many of us humans there are.  

There’s also this. Facebook is letting Trump lie and threaten. Twitter is putting up some barriers against his lies and threats.

This, to me, was a remarkable moment:

Last Thursday evening I happened to check Twitter in the first hour after the first video was posted of the Buffalo cops pushing 75-year old activist Martin Gugino. I watched in real time as hundreds and then thousands of others retweeted that video. Within the hour I saw that a lawyer had posted a formal complaint to NY state policing authorities. Within the next hour some NY authority (it was past 10PM at that point) said they were looking into it and those cops were suspended pending investigation. I witnessed this chain of events happening in real time. Conversations and responses ricocheted. Justice is a process aqnd sometimes you can see it happening. By sharing the tweet, I was one of the many, many first sparks of that conflagration.

I started on Twitter in 2011 when my son was home for an afternoon. I remarked to him how amazing it was to watch Arab Spring happening. He said I should be on Twitter to see it closer and then he helped me join. It’s easy to start an account, I didn’t need him for tech support. I needed his belief that I was important enough to be part of the ongoing human conversation about what matters.

In case you decide to do it (if you aren’t there already) make sure to follow me at MB@MBDanielson

Also check out Bodega Cats.

Len and I are somewhat disappointed that we are not going to protests. We joined plenty of them when we were younger and there was no pandemic.

I watch awesome humans, many older than me, who are out there being part of this moment in history. Maybe I’ve read too much about Covid. The downside to being informed is – well – one is informed.

So anyways, I’ve been thinking about “comfort zones.” Going to an event with a dozen or a hundred or a million other people right now is outside my comfort zone.

But we can still stretch our comfort zones and this is a stretch that was a big for me.

I live a half block from a street that is lined with low-income, low-rise apartment buildings. I lived in Chicago for a long time. I am cautious in low-income neighborhoods where young men hang out in the middle of the day, where the dog of choice seems to be the pit bull, and where cop cars cruise like sharks offshore.

All of these aspects of urban life plus a few notable incidences that we witnessed and experienced in the past years, made me decide early on to not walk on the particular street I’ve just described.

Last week I visited my decision again. In Chicago I was held up at gun point twice and mugged once. Yet, duh, none of those events happened in a “poor neighborhood.”

There was my white privilege and white caution developed not by experience but by stereotypes. I was held up when I was a bank teller – yet I still go to banks!

Last week I made a conscious decision to walk on the street by my house.

This is what happened, first day, first time I turned that corner.

A young couple with two giant baskets of laundry as well as a baby on the man’s shoulders were struggling to get across the street. I called out. They looked up. I stretched my arms to indicate I was carrying nothing so I could help. When I stretched my arms, that child stretched his little arms, too, as if welcoming me to the street.

Since that day I’ve said hi to some older ladies who out walking. I met a woman sitting on her porch and her dog licked me.

Because a million people marched in the streets, I walked down a sometimes-scary street and it was not scary.

No matter how we do it, it is time for all of us to push at the walls on our comfort zones.

If you have more ideas how we can do this, let us know.

Vote. Join efforts. Give money and time.

What else?

 

Comments

As I did in the 60's and as I am doing now, I am participating in the marches. We have a great relationship with out police dept in Racine. At we protested there was police marching with us on the days when hundreds marched. We were there with masks & on the sidelines. Frankly, when I read that George Floyd cried out for his MOMMA that morning of the march, I realized that I HAD to be there for my grandchildren, all of them, especially the ones who are 1/2 afroamerican. I cannot imagine my grandchildren crying for their MOMMA as a police officer would be harassing them. I also marched for the immigrants, the ones who have been harassed by the sheriff and his dept in our city and also for the thousands at the border, hidden, lost & badly treated by our own government.
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you, Dixie. I have noticed that so much of what people say, when talking about this, sounds like Psalms and songs.

I loved hearing that while you can't officially "march", you are being brave and marching in a different way. I feel motivated to go and read to children in Waukegan, something I've been wanting to do this for a long time. Working on logistics now. The point of it is CONNECTION. I'm also bringing some needed stuff to homeless veterans, where people of color are the majority, although COVID-19 is making things so complicated.These are my forms of marching, if you know what I mean. And by voting in EVERY election. And calling people out gently on Twitter, although for me, Twitter is hard and complicated!
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for this Jenny. I do know what you mean by connections and it takes logistics and courage to reach out in the time of Covid. I hope the reading-to-kids works. Wear and mask and have a ball and drench yourself in Purell back in your car. Kids are sort of the wake-up place for our spirits. Well, most of the time. Let us know how it goes.

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