The throng was chanting loudly with banners held high for all to see. Solidarity! Cars blared their horns in procession and drivers yelled out windows “YEAH!” to large groups on foot, who were chanting and waving signs, eventually converging into one powerful, writhing mass of support. Thousands gathered around the statehouse only to find the doors locked and guarded. The Chanting grew louder, “Let us in! Let us in! This is our house!” State troopers were half heartedly standing guard, sympathetic to the crowd. A group of firefighters began pounding on the massive doors, visibly shaking them. Finally, the doors opened and the crowd cheered as they poured into every opening – a sea of purpose. The entire statehouse seemed a living thing with stairwells and hallways filled with “Kill the bill! Kill the bill!” reverberating throughout.
This was my experience as I stood with the masses in opposition to State Senate Bill 5 in Ohio. It was an incredibly powerful moment as a common cause brought us all together without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender! We were fighting for more than just unions; we were fighting for the entire middle class – the majority of America that is rapidly shrinking! We were fighting for the future of our children, our communities, our state, and our country!
My teenage daughter stood with us. Her sign shouting “Future Voter Says No No No To SB5!” Normally a quiet person, I was shocked and impressed with her adamant stance and commanding voice as she fully participated. She was planning on telling all her friends and teachers about her experience in hopes of opening up discussions on the importance of participating in government. I guess it’s in our blood as my Grandfather helped organize the coal miner’s union in Kentucky. And even though we were only facing locked doors rather than angry men wielding sledge hammers as he did, I know he would be proud of us today.
I leave you with the words of the Ohio protestors against SB5 on Tuesday February 22, 2011:
“THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!”
For more information about SB5: