On May 13, 2013, I was arrested for the first time in my life.
I was in a public building, trying to exercise my Constitutional right to speak to legislators and I was charged with second-degree trespass, carrying a prohibited sign into the General Assembly Building and “chanting and loud singing.”
The second and third charges were dropped because the building rules were so vague as to be unconstitutional. I would have protested the second charge anyway because the only thing I carried was a photo of my late son.
I was found guilty and have appealed, but my lawyer tells me it could be 3-5 years before my case is finally dealt with.
I have been to court six times now and I have another court date June 2, but my case isn’t likely to be called then. So much for my right to a speedy trial.
I didn’t have to fight this. I could have paid $180 and done 25 hours of public service, but that would mean admitting guilt and I didn’t do anything wrong.
As I said on the stand, I did not go into the General Assembly Building for the purpose of getting arrested; I went because I was desperate to be heard.
Five to eight people are dying prematurely every day because we refuse to expand Medicaid. Estimates for the annual death toll range from 1,500 to 2,800.
I had tried to speak to legislators. My representative in the House, Tim Moffitt, just blew me off. The last time I went to see him, he said, rather peevishly, “Yes, I know about your son.”
When I went with Rev. Barber to try and talk to Thom Tillis, he literally burst out the back door of his office and ran away. There’s video proof of that somewhere, but my own video of the event plays over and over in my head.
If you know me, you know health care is my primary issue, but it doesn’t stand alone; no issue does.
That’s why I have joined with tens of thousands of others in this Forward Together Movement. I have met and been befriended by some amazing people, and the experience has changed my life for the better. I feel so alive when I’m with my fellow protesters and activists. I feel a part of something bigger than any of us.
This bunch of fools in Raleigh has done all it can to dismantle the entire safety net, not to mention education, voter rights, LGBT rights and the environment. My fellow activists and I will continue to fight them.
I will continue to go to Moral Mondays as they start up again next week. I will continue to speak out for economic and social justice as long as I have a voice.
I am not afraid of jail, although I prefer not to be arrested for asserting my Constitutional rights again.
No one can hurt me more than the unnecessary death of my son has hurt me already, so I am particularly dangerous to those who would silence the Moral Mondays folks. People with no fear really do scare them because they can’t cow us into submission.
I want a better world for my grandchildren and my great-granddaughter, and I won’t stop working for it.