November 23, 2017

Day 10 Thursday November 23rd – Silent Sentinel Vigil

By Elizabeth Croydon AKA Jane Snow

Thanksgiving

The Silent Sentinels were the first group to picket the White House ever. Fighting for women’s right to vote, they burned copies of Woodrow Wilson’s speeches. They were the founding mothers of Peace Park and the long line of demonstrations for human rights that take place in front of the White House Wall. 33 women were arrested and tortured. During their trial it was determined they were arrested illegally. It is their legacy that looks over the park today, smiling on those asking for a better day.

Today a Hindu family asks me to take their picture. The matron has worn her toe rings and sandals. She is wrapped in an orange silk sari. When the sun disappears she puts on a soft cotton sweater.

A father and his son are on bikes in matching spandex and helmets.

A dude dressed in a jacket that reads ‘New York,’ combat boots and a fedora is the spitting image of Carlos Santana’s brother. I don’t know that Santana has a brother — but this guy is the spitting image.

A sleeper cell rolls by. I call the tourists sightseeing on segways ‘sleeper cells’ because they are humorous and seem to be ripped from a Woody Allen movie about the future, plopped into this landscape.

Segways at the White House

A man wearing a California Tea Party shirt agrees with my signs.

Dutch tourists dressed in black, riding red rental bikes cut a wake through the street currently open to the public.

A man looking like a cross between Larry David and Lawrence O’Donnell brags to his out-of-town guests in his most lawyerly voice “I’ve been kicked out of this park a couple time for standing up for my beliefs!”

Even the secret service is enjoying themselves with their hands stuffed in their pockets.

You ought to be sharing this day with me. Bring chairs. Bring friends. Bring hot cider. Bring song. Take the Silent Sentinel Challenge.

Phillipe is manning the Prop One Vigil. This is the longest lasting vigil of Peace Park. It has continued for decades. The ashes of the woman who helmed it for years are spread in this park.

 

Concepcion "Connie" Picciotto b. 1945 d. 2016

Philippe [Philipos Melaku-Bello] is a punk rock legend. His father ran sound at Whiskey A Go-Go . We talk for quite sometime about DC’s longstanding contribution to punk rock history. Iron Cross, Dead Kennedy’s, Fughazi, Black Flag are some of the names we banter.

“This f—king city is run by pigs. Taking away rights from the kids,” Philippe serenades me.

He calls The Ramones too sweet and too tame. He talks about his band, “Anarchistic Youth Brigade,” and the time they opened for Iggy Pop as “Abbie Hoffman’s Brain” in Chicago. Iggy knew their songs and joined in on the singing. “Power to the poor or we’ll start a war!”

"You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists." -- Abbie Hoffman

Equality & Rebels - Thanksgiving Day 10

My heart is filled with gratitude for the rebels of equality that have fought to create positive change in societies.

I feel their smile in the sun resting on my face today.

In Service and with the gratitude of many,

Jane Snow