For the last week, the world has been watching the Queen City. The Democratic National Convention was held here! Delegates, celebrities and of course THE PRESIDENT have been in our city all week. Several months ago I went thru the process of signing up to volunteer for the DNC. No matter your party……this was a big deal for our community. I was chosen to be on the team of the Communications and Public Affairs department. How exciting!!!!
In recent weeks, we found out Englishman in the Queen City (aka my significant other) had to go out of the country…..leaving me alone with all three of our children. After a great deal of thought, I decided to give up my volunteer position as I was afraid of getting stuck in Uptown. With children to pick up from school, soccer practices, etc….I just didn't want to take the risk of not getting back home to them in time.
On Monday of this week, I learned that Perez Hilton who I absolutely LOVE was going to be in town for the Rock the Vote event sponsored by Pringles. After making my way on the list, it was decided….I was going to at least experience part of the DNC in person. I took my dear friend, partner in crime and colleague Shannon Rauch with me.
I decided I'd park at Shannon's house and her awesome hubby would drop us off as close as possible to the main event as many roads were blocked off due to the convention.
And this is where the trouble began……..
Camera around my neck……media pass around hers…..we looked pretty "official" and we were no doubt excited about our day. While walking down the side walk, a protester's march passed us. My thought? OH COOL…I've never seen anything like this before……*snap snap snap* …..gotta get a few pictures. It all happened within a couple of minutes…….laughter…giggling at their absolute NONSENSE …..Here's looking at the -> Occupy Group……then all of a sudden police surround us……and we are barricaded in……no…not just on one side of the street….on ALL sides.
I think it took a few minutes for us to realize what was going on. The Marchers decided last minute to go down a route that was not approved on their permit..Ok. Fine. Talk about it. Square this away. We have a party to go to. Mr. Hilton is waiting on me ya know! Definitely not that easy. We explain to the police that we are just trying to get to an event….we heard delegates tell the police who they were…..they showed credentials……the police still wouldn't budge.They weren't allowed to let anyone leave.
Let me just explain something. This was not 3 or 4 protesters. There were about 200 so I understand WHY the police did what they did but everyone was extremely irritated that innocent bystanders were stuck in with the protesters. I remember one woman yelling "I was just trying to catch my train. I just wanna go home. Now I may be volunteering to be a victim." She was saying this because the nearly 300 police officers surrounding us had protection….noone else did. All it would take is one wrong move by a protester and chaos could ensue. Of course I had/have faith in those there to protect but this was INTENSE.
(A protester and a DNC attendee discussing their views)
At times it would get quiet……..except for the helicopters overhead……other times you'd see protesters inches from a police officer's face yelling obscenities.
During our time in this barricade…..I don't know if Shannon and I knew to laugh or cry. Of course we used our time to live tweet while I photographed what was unfolding before us. Englishman in the Queen City called at one point……."we're in the middle of a protest…..we can't move….they're saying we could be here for hours…..I really can't talk right now…..oh..F*CK ME…NOW THEY ARE SITTING ON THE GROUND..we're DEFINITELY not going anywhere now…….His response? "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA Take pictures."
At the beginning of the protest, Shannon asked a police officer the most important question "what if we have to pee?" . He didn't really have an answer. I thought it was a good question. I mean, if we are there for hours…..what if someone has a Bridesmaid movie moment? We were standing in a street you know. Although, there were no wedding dresses around.
The protesters could literally touch us and a couple of times they'd walk up and put a sign beside or in front of us. We'd move away and Shannon said "I don't wanna be on the news with THAT beside me." Police officer's response? "OH You two have already been all over the news." Oh…great….I can only imagine my mother seeing me on the news in the middle of an Occupy Group protest next to people holding up pictures of dead children and wearing what looked like Halloween masks. I'm sure she'd be proud.
After standing in the heat for nearly a hour and a half at this point, hair frizzed up and literally looking like a hot mess…Shannon apparently devised a plan.
Out of nowhere, I hear GO GO GO and Shannon grabs my arm and yanks me thru the sea of policemen. My heart's beating fast, we are walking fast and with all the adrenaline rushing thru my body I thought I was going to faint……then I hear the words I never thought I'd hear…….."I pulled a pad out of my purse and told them you were on your period." Wait a sec……you did WHAT? At this point, I couldn't help by laugh hysterically. Aunt Flow really wasn't visiting me……but Shannon had to use a last resort……a resort only a woman could use.
And that my friends was our experience of the protest. We did make it to the Perez Hilton Rock the Vote event but I'll save that story for another post.
*Please note….all protest photos were taken by me. Please do not use without my permission!*