My gateway to protesting occurred when John Salvi walked into two abortion clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts and riddled the waiting rooms with bullets. Two weeks earlier I sat in the waiting room of one of those clinics to see if I was pregnant. Thankfully, I wasn’t.
Prior to sitting in that waiting room I participated in smalls acts of progressive politics. The first is when I watched two young men shoplift condoms from the CVS I was working at. I walked up to them and told them to pay. Neither had any money so I let them go. Even at age 17 I was smart enough to know these young men — probably about 14 — should have condoms at their disposal. The second was to write a Letter to the Editor to my hometown newspaper supporting the distribution of condoms in the high school nurses office a few years after the shoplifting incident.
Reproductive rights still continue to be important to me though I don’t rally around them like I used to. At that time in my life, throughout my twenties, nothing frightened me more than an unwanted, unplanned, unprepared for pregnancy. The idea of being knocked up just terrified me and I did whatever I could so I would not be in a position in which I saw so many friends: pregnant, desperately wanting an abortion but having no money for one. I saw the men and women of Congress taking away my ability to make a choice so I was on those lines yelling and chanting, writing letters, and voting for the most pro-choice candidate available.
Over the last decade my activism has turned to peace and nonviolence, climate change, organic food/farming, and economic equality (you know, living salaried, sustainable jobs). I feel most threatened by the increase in war and violence, changes to Mother Earth’s ecosystem based on greed (and sometimes stupidity), and the inability to find a job paying a living salary.
This year has been a particularly busy year for me protest wise. I’ve been involved heavily with my local Occupy group which has connected me to the greater Occupy Movement. This connection allowed me to visit Chicago — where my “arrest cherry” was popped — and Burlington to bring awareness to two issues that are particularly important to me: bringing peace and nonviolence to the table as the most appropriate method of conflict resolution and moving from detrimental energy collection and distribution to sustainable methods of power. In September I will travel to NYC on September 17th to mark the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and participate in some protests on things job and climate change related. Then in November I will travel to DC to Occupy the White House.
And next year? I’ll recover from this year.