I have been an activist/advocate for 20 years now. In fact I
know the date I started, September 1991. In front of the late Sen. Johnson
pleading not to cut funds to The Refuge, a battered women’s shelter in
Twenty years later, I am still an activist/advocate and
there is one consistency that I have seen in my twenty years of domestic
violence, violence against women, epilepsy, equal rights, military families,
and National Guard activism/advocacy/testimony and many more that I see over
and over and over again.
I see groups recruit younger people or people from other
cultures or genders and then these groups are unwilling to accept these people
as their own, or accept their ideas or share in their thoughts.
I was at a call center once, when it was found out that one
of the callers was pro-choice, a call was made to the leader of the center and
demanded that this pro-choice person be thrown out. The leader denied, and the
caller then said he was coming down to the call center to physically remove
this person and there was nothing the leader could do. The reason being because
the caller was a long time member of the group and knew “everyone”. Needless to
say we were all a little terrified and ready to call the police.
I was part of an organization a very long time ago that
helped a certain type of military family. I soon came to realize that there
were certain things that those of us married to certain ranks did not do or
were not supposed to do. I also found out that full time military was somehow
better than guard or reserve families. The other wonderful thing I found out
this very long time ago, was that certain organizations built to help veterans,
would only help full time military veterans, guard were not considered veterans
when they came back and would not by them a beer let alone give them a party.
I have been part of organizations that have fought to end
the violence against women, and I have seen just as much vocal violence in the
board room as I did in my first marriage.
When I left high school and my small home town of Cambridge,
I left to be done with the “these are the only people that can be in charge or
have a right to say something”. I left so I wouldn’t have the same choices over
and over again. I left to learn, I left to listen, I left to have a say.
So I get excited when I see new people bring new ideas or
new ways of doing things into a group. I love learning how others do things or
take an old idea and spin it. I love young people with their new knowledge and
their hope and faith to make things good again. Then I get to see it crushed,
and my hope for the future dashed when one sentenced is said “but we’ve always
done it this way”. A refusal to open, a
refusal to accept, a refusal to let a new light on the subject, a refusal to
grasp that fear and make it strength just like I did twenty years ago.
I’m tired, I’m angry, and I’m done. I will respect those
that have gone before me and thank them for starting the fight, but I am here
to end it.
I do not want another child to go through a school day
afraid like I did. I do not want another child to be called names, given
swirlys, or terrorized like I was. I do not want another child to contemplate
suicide like I did and attempt it. I do not want another child’s name in the
paper because of a bully. I will end it and those that are not with me are
I do not want another woman to be a victim of violence like
I was. I do not want her to be beaten or raped by someone she loves, an
authority figure, or a stranger. I do not want her victimized for the clothes
she wears, the age she is, or how careless her parents are. I will end it and
those that are not with me are against me.
I do not want another person victimized for their culture,
their gender, their status, their religion, or anything like that. I am tired
of bullies in America from kindergarten to Congress and I will end it and those
who are not with me are against me.
To remain neutral in times like this is to give evil a free
pass. You are either with me or punching evil’s ticket.
mom, wife, daughter, sister, feminist, domestic abuse
victor, rape victor, bully victor, epileptic, military family advocate,
catholic, and councilwoman. I am here to end it. You with me?