I was so charmed by this story of Carrie A. Nation. In the late 1800's and early 1900's men were acting like drunk assholes and women had no rights. So she took it upon herself to support prohibition and then went one step further and walked into illegal bars and starting smashing things with her hatchet. Hear a much better version of her story on Criminal episode 73.
I took some time this morning to re-read James Baldwin's letter to Angela Davis as it applies now as much as ever to the treatment of the asylum seekers knocking at our borders.
One might have hoped that, by this hour, the very sight of chains on black flesh, or the very sight of chains, would be so intolerable a sight for the American people, and so unbearable a memory, that they would themselves spontaneously rise up and strike off the manacles. But, no, they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses.
I walked down Clinton Street in Brooklyn Tuesday morning, confident that we would be making history that day. "This is a day I will never forget," I thought.
I spent the day answering questions from voters and reporting polling place incidents. The messages began to feel like a chant:
"Where do I vote?"
"What should I bring?"
"Can I get a ride?"
All of them answered with glee. "At least I am helping," I thought. Knowing that if she lost and I sat idly by, my guilt would be too much to handle.
There were hundreds of us there supporting the cause. Our day was punctuated by the tap tap of keyboards and the ding ding of the phones.
I stayed until my vision became blurred. It was dark when I walked out of the campaign office. As I walked down the hall someone yelled, "You are a hero!" and I felt like it. It was still early and few states had reported. I walked back the way I came. Feeling a sense of pride and confidence that we had put in the work and now it was time to reap the rewards.
We went to dinner, my eyes were glued to my phone. Refresh, refresh, refresh. A large knot was forming in my stomach. By 11pm I knew our chances were slim, and I knew when it was over I didn't want to be at the bar. I crawled into bed with my laptop on my stomach and my phone in my hand. Refresh, refresh, refresh.
I woke up to darkness at 3am and looked at my phone. The race had been called. I sobbed for hours, Brian telling me, "It's going to be okay." "It's not," I thought. I didn't sleep again that night, the knot in my stomach grew tighter.
As I rode my bike to work Wednesday morning, I looked at the children walking to school. I saw a Muslim girl. I felt as though we failed her. I failed her. "This is a day I will never forget," I thought.
// Part II coming tomorrow plus a long list of things you can and should do now
I feel honored to have been a part of Airbnb's internal project for Black Lives Matter. I stopped by their NYC office and took portraits of the team. The ones above on black backgrounds are by me, the rest by their SF photography department. Read more on their design blog.