November 24, 2017

Day 11 Friday November 24th – Silent Sentinel Vigil

By Elizabeth Croydon AKA Jane Snow

Laura Callow is 90 years old. Her son wheeled her to the park to find us.

She has worked on the Equal Rights Amendment since it passed the US House and Senate in 1972. She wants it ratified. She wants it in her lifetime.

It is strictly a matter of economics, she tells me. Her father left the family. Women were not offered lines of credit in those days. She remembers her family’s struggle. Her Steely blue eyes communicate decades of witnessing the struggle for equal rights under the law.

She is familiar with our work. She speaks of our Silent Sentinel Linda M. Smith with great admiration. I tell her Linda was a most mighty White House Wall Watcher as she boasts to doing it since the sixties. We share a laugh.

Starkly, the subject shifts to domestic violence and sexual assault. Nimbly, she retails a tale of her an older single female she looked up to as a child who always proclaimed to “keep her elbows sharp” and gesticulating the self defense gesture many women know as early as the fifth grade, this woman makes me laugh and laugh and laugh in the sunshine of knowledge and understated class.

Laura Carter Callow wants it known she stood with me this eleventh day of the Silent Sentinel Challenge. She stood with me without the help of her chair, her son or me... and I felt the shoulders of a million mother ancestors offering the strength of Atlas in my quest.

Laura came to Washington to visit her sons from Michigan and requested immediate escort to our vigil. She spoke intently of strategy and politics and just as swiftly as she came she exited… like an apparition of Gandolph or Roger Waters bearing the good news of equality and peace… Let there be good music.

The park closes entirely for a period of time before reopening. The secret service is unapologetic regarding their announcement that all visitors are being bounced be it a security risk, crowd control presentation, TV crew, etc.

I reestablish our ERA watch when the park reopens. Another of Laura Callow’s sons, Bruce, rides his bike to our vigil seeking to confirm his mother found us earlier. He shows me pictures of Laura celebrating her 90th birthday with friends and family. He says that standing by my side was the one thing she wanted to do outside of Thanksgiving dinner. I thank him for sharing that with me. Bruce also signs our guest book.

This vigil goes up to eleven. Today is the day of Nigel and all men of good will whose mothers made them strong and woke.

Woke is what the hip kids are calling being well-informed.

Awake and Watching for Equality.

In service,

Jane Snow, Queen of the Northwest, Keeper of the Silent Sentinel Challenge, Watcher of the White House Wall

Day Eleven of the Silent Sentinel Challenge - 11-24-17

THANK YOU to Laura Callow and the millions of women and our allies who fought for ERA in the nineteen sixties and seventies!