Gini Gerbasi, a rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown (Washington DC), wrote a lengthy report on her personal Facebook page on 2 June 2020, right after the events in Lafayette Square.* She was shook up, having one minute been serving snacks to peaceful protestors and the next being driven violently from the park by tear-gas–wielding police. In the moment, she and the others had no idea what was happening.
(Not long after that, it came out that it all had to do with an awkward photo op for the fake president. You can read more about the events as reported by others in the Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, and the BBC.)
I loved her last lines: “… I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.” And I said so on Facebook, finishing with “Pass it on: #aforcetobereckonedwith.” One of my friends left me a message that brought tears to my eyes: “Her last lines evoked you for me. <3” I just turned sixty-seven last weekend, I don’t have the stamina for walking city blocks anymore and can no longer keep up with anything like a peaceful protest (crowds make me uncomfortable), but by golly I can write, right? I’m trying to get my thoughts down as they happen, in the moment. In these historic days and weeks.
That very night a US senator** said on national television something like that: he’d been taking care of legislative business and wasn’t able to march in a local protest, and he acknowledged that at this time, for whatever reason (COVID19 not least among them), not all Americans who feel strongly about this cause can take to the streets. “The least we can do, though,” he said, “is not remain silent.”
* In which peaceful protestors had assembled and were just kinda taking it easy. With snacks. Until the cops arrived.
** Cory Booker, of whom I think very highly. Keep your eye on him.