I saw your ad for RNC experiences and thought I’d share mine with you.
My wife and I participated daily in protests against the RNC and our organizing efforts were filmed by a documentary film crew from Spain’s CANAL+ network. When we first heard the Republicans were holding their convention in NYC, we were outraged. It was yet another example of their exploiting our city’s tragedy for their own political gain. In essence their exploitation of 9/11 desecrates the memory of those who died on that day. But as the day approached, I realized that this was our chance to show the nation that NYC does not like the Republicans.
I started organizing months in advance. I managed to contact local and national activists through the internet. Canal+ noticed my recruiting efforts and their crew contacted me and filmed some of our organizational meetings. At one time I had more than 50 people interested in coming to NYC and protesting, though, in the end, I never led more than 16 people at a time.
From the pro-choice march across the Brooklyn bridge to the last night, my wife and I protested. At the time she was 8 month’s pregnant and quite large. The heat would get to her and we had to cut some days short so she could rest, but she was determined to show the Republicans that she had no liking for them. I had activists from as far away as Arkansas join some of our protests. And for much of it, Canal+ filmed us. It was my job to pick the activities we would participate in, and to make sure that none of the people I was leading were arrested. To this latter end I spent some time at each location making friends with the police and making sure that we were not antagonizing them. This paid off as the police saw that we were sympathetic to them and their efforts and my group had no troubles.
If I had to pick one memory from those days of protesting to relate, it would have to be the night that the Republicans all were treated to Broadway shows. We protested outside the Lion King. As the delegates emerged, they saw us with our signs and heard us yell at them and their faces turned sour. One group of prune-faced delegates emerged to see my very pregnant wife yelling at them, “Shame on you for turning our tragedy into your photo-op!” One Republican woman yelled back, “Shame on you for getting yourself knocked up!” Well, that just angered my wife.
I turned to see her chasing a group of about 6 delegates down the street, shouting at them as they cowered. She was already half a block away from me, berating the delegates soundly when I noticed a cop taking interest. I saw him coming up from behind her and imagined my wife giving birth in a jail cell! I ran up from the other side, trying to get to her before the cop did but without seeming threatening to the police. I got there one second after the cop got to her.
He simply tapped her on the shoulder and asked with some concern, “Ma’am? Are you okay?”
My wife turned to him and said sweetly, “Yes. Everything is fine.”
By then the delegates had made their escape, tails between their legs.
I have stayed in touch with most of the people who looked to me for leadership during the convention. When the 2004 election gave us 4 more years of Bush’s mismanagement, many of these people turned to me for comfort. Out of my efforts to comfort these fellow activists, I developed a newsletter, now a blog, to help progressives find their niche of activism and to help people find their voices to speak out. So out of a whim to organize protesters came my role in a Spanish Documentary and my new voice as an advocate for Progressive Democrats through my blog:
And a great memory of my pregnant wife chasing terrified Republican delegates down the street, shaming them with their exploitation of 9/11.
I hope this narrative is helpful to you.