Monday, May 13, 2013

Bullhorns and Bike Locks

Since I became a co-leader of the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America I have been amazed by some of the strong women I have met.

Last week I went to a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Lankford.  While I was there I met a lady named Nancy, a 79-year old grandmother, that chained herself to an earth mover at the Keystone pipeline construction site.  With a bike lock.  Around her neck.

“Really?!” I said.
“Well, I was one of 6 people.”
“That’s amazing!”
“Well, it wasn’t hard.”  Because it was the dexterity required to place a bike lock around your neck that was impressive.

Then I met Jean at a Stroller Jam in front of Senator Inhofe’s office.  A Stroller Jam is an event where moms show up with their strollers and children to ask that their legislators work for gun reform.  When security came out to ask us to leave
Jean said, “This ain’t nothing.  I’ve been to jail.”
“You’ve been to jail?! For what?”
“Protesting the death penalty.  It wasn’t a big deal.  It was only for 6 hours.  Nancy...Nancy went to jail for 24 hours.”

So this weekend we held a Mother's Day Walk in honor of the victims of gun violence and their families.  We carried eight paper flowers to represent the eight children shot and killed every day in this country.  I am terrified of public speaking so naturally I volunteered to speak.  This in itself was scary enough.  Then I was handed a bullhorn.  Then I started shaking uncontrollably and really felt pretty lame.  These women had chained themselves to things and went to jail, yet I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking over speaking in a park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon surrounded by supportive women.  But I did it.  I stepped up on a rock and I talked.  Our speakers told their heart wrenching stories about losing their son/grandson to gun violence.  It was emotional and there were tears and it reconfirmed why I’m doing all this.

Everyday I am amazed at these women.  I hope that I some of their strength will rub off on me, but in the mean time I will think of this quote that one of my new activist momma friends shared with me: Speak the truth even if your voice shakes. That I can do.  I'm not sure I'm ready for a bike lock though.

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