-By Bob Zellner from his Facebook page. Bob Zellner is the organizer of the Ella Baker Organizing School South BOSS at North Carolina NAACP and former Field Secretary at SNCC.
The worst weather in the United States erupted this morning as our small band suited up to drive from Daphne, Alabama, my hometown, to Pensacola for the Women’s March. Tornado alarms screamed as we drove through rain and wind toward Morning Joe’s hometown.
Four women organizers in our crowded SUV talked to driver Kent about not hydroplaning. “Warning,” someone reminded us, “means there’s a twister on the ground somewhere nearby.” Another declared that if there were only a dozen people at the march, at least we would be there.
Nearing the end of Palafox at Luna Plaza in Pensacola we could make out rainbows of bright umbrellas and rain slickers, as small groups with dripping signs surged toward the troubled waters of the bay. The lightening cracking above raised signs and umbrellas ignited my moderate to severe PTSD. Dark clouds hovered just above the water while Kent eased the BMW into a miraculously open parking place smack in front of a café awning shielding a few huddled marchers. Being the only man in the car, I was soon ordered to jump out for updated news of the march and rally. Smiling folks said the platform speaking was postposed till 12:30 pm due to the lightening. Thinking we might relax, we breathed relief but seconds later a huge army of shouting women, men, young people, and children came barreling down the flooded street. Sally Pat suddenly bailed out, disappearing in a sea of soaked but happy folks.
Michele grabbed her “Keep Abortion Legal” sign along with one of the two available beach umbrellas while I latched on to the other. We left Kent and Pamela alone figuring out the SUV’s next move – give up a secure parking place or take a chance on finding one nearer the stage?
The protest river growing by the moment, we kept our phones as dry as possible, taking photos for Facebook and twitter. A multitude gathered where the sand met the bay, making me wonder how on earth there could be this many progressive people willing to risk death by lightening while protesting the new administration. This, in the conservative, extremist, Florida panhandle known worldwide as LA, lower Alabama?!
Something must be happening!