That’s my daughter(on the right) and her friend Zoe at the George Floyd protest at Worcester City Hall on Monday. I initially did not want her to go. Watching what had happened the day before in Boston and other cities I didn’t want her or any of us near a potential riot. I was afraid for her safety. I was AFRAID. But, much like her mother, she was persistent. She was not afraid.
I remember being 15 and being fearless and outspoken and wanting to express that. She kept saying it was important. Gradually I started to realize: If I discourage her from taking action on something she believes in what is she going to think in the future? Is she going to think, “I just won’t get involved. It will take care of itself, it’s ok to be afraid.” I then thought about what my former WAAF colleague Lyndon Byers once said: “Nothing changes if nothing changes” At the time we made fun of him for saying it but it really is true. That’s what my daughter was saying to me. We have to do SOMETHING. We have to at least show our support and join thousands of others saying what happened to George Floyd was a crime. It was murder. And it happens too often.
So we joined what seemed like a couple thousand people to protest. The Worcester Common Oval was filled with people from many different races, backgrounds, religions and ages. At first the only thing I was capable of doing was looking around for people that could be trouble makers. My mind was occupied with possible escape routes and plans if things went sideways. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking this in a crowd of people dressed in black and wearing masks. But as the speakers delivered their messages the crowd seemed to become more unified. We were all there for the same thing. We peacefully marched to the Worcester County Courthouse where there was another rally and a moment of silence. The whole way the Worcester Police fulfilled there mission in the most professional way. They kept the peace and protected the citizenry. It was a peaceful and powerful event.
That day I was so proud of my city. I looked at my daughter holding up her homemade sign and felt so damn proud of her too. My daughter was taking action. She was trying to be better. She has always inspired me in her 15 years on this planet, but never more than that moment. Thanks for reminding me Chloe. It is important. It’s not going to get fixed overnight, but it will never be fixed if we do nothing.