The ENOUGH! Rally

| Jul 9, 2018

The ENOUGH! rally was held on June 30, 2018 at Reeves Park, Phoenixville, Pa. I should know. I organized it.

A couple weeks ago I was listening to one of my “fake news” stations, I think it was MSNBC, and I heard about all these children being rounded up. Including infants and toddlers, who are put into “Tender Age Camps.”

Said to myself, why aren’t people in the streets over this? Why aren’t there pitchforks and torches?

Flyer

Rally flyer.

I’d never organized a protest. But someone had to do something. “If not me, who? If not now, when?” And here we are. Thanks to a heck of a lot of people who held my hand and guided us all here, especially Luke Bauerlein.

Things in this country are worse than ever for LGBT people (and Latinos, and Muslims, and…) You know it’s bad when fellow transgender people on “facialbook” were surprised that the Latinos were the first to be put in camps. Many of us assumed it would be LGBT, especially the T.

So, as I’m STILL unemployed, I had the time on my hands. So, I screwed up my courage and started organizing the protest. Quickly, Luke B asked what he could do to help. He’d worked on protests before, so I made him the co-chair. Between us we recruited others in the Phoenixville progressive community. Emails sent and calls made.

As Luke had done this before, he made things a lot easier. I met with the mayor of Phoenixville, Peter Urscheler (D). We discussed the plans, and I made some requests. He was more than happy to grant almost all of them, including graciously agreeing to speak. (He turned down my request for a thousand dollar honorarium for my effort. Okay, so I didn’t ask for that.)

Chief among my requests was for security — a police presence. I was concerned that local 45 supporters may attempt violence, as the trend indicated that was a possibility. Indeed, news from around the country showed that 45 supporters were becoming more… bold… in expressing hatred. And, as a transgender woman, I feared that my presence would make me a target.

Paranoid? Maybe. Better safe than sorry.

Sophie

MC Sophie

I went to Vegas for a few days on personal business, and, by the time I returned, almost everything was ready. I also received some great advice from Lisa Longo, president of the local school board, who had also had protest experience.

The day of the protest, I revised my speech, did some more research, selected a wardrobe, and went to the park. When I arrived, there were already three spectators there. I brought two cases of water with me for distribution to the crowd, and someone else volunteered to get some ice. It was 90 degrees, sunny, and enough humidity to make things uncomfortable. The stage was fully in sunlight, so there was no avoiding it.

We waited fifteen minutes for stragglers to filter in. I estimate that there were around 150 people of all ages, many with signs, in attendance.

I started by reading some Thomas Paine, then gave my talk. It was not the best I’d ever done — it could’ve been cut in half and been far more effective. I introduced the mayor, and almost everyone else in fact. I was the MC. Some of my jokes worked, some didn’t.

Some of the speakers were downright electrifying. Others… not so much (one spoke for over 30 minutes, when we were all supposed to keep it to 5-10 max.) We ran over our allotted time, but the mayor gave some extra. We ended with a sing along of Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land with the maybe twenty people still there at 9:45.

I think it went well. Many people were energized. I felt like I’d done something. Maybe — maybe not. But I felt I did.

Many people told me it was a great event, and I am grateful. Of course, the question becomes “what now?” Now, it’s a matter of keeping up the pressure on elected officials, and getting out the vote, assuming there is an election in November. Again — paranoid? Maybe. I hope to God I’m wrong.

As I was leaving, I felt very good about myself. Then I had my “remember — thou art mortal” moment. Someone had spilled water on the grass — on a small slope. I slipped on the wet grass, and fell hard on my butt, hurting my back and shoulder.

Life keeps me humble.

Be well.

Editor’s Note: We suggest that the next step might be a voter registration drive.

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Category: Community News, Politics

About the Author ()

Read Sophie's blog here. View her contribution to The New York Times transgender stories article. She has also been featured in an article on Philly.com.

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