A TREMENDOUS DAY! #bostonstrong

Attending the anti-Nazi demonstration in Boston was an event I won’t soon forget. The day began really well, with a fantastic interview of our GMG podcast guests, the playwright Israel Horovitz, and Gloucester Stage Company’s Heidi Dallin and Emme Shaw. Israel fills the room with his stories and Joey knows how to bring out the best of them. After the podcast, I stopped home and had a quick lunch with Jessica while getting kisses in for our granddaughter (and return smiles!). Jessica, Tom, and I discussed transportation strategies for attending the demonstration. The Blueline was decided upon, which as it turns out was so easy, I would take this route again without hesitation. It only took forty-five minutes to drive to Wonderland Station in Revere and parking is free on the weekends.

I am unfamiliar with purchasing train tickets from a machine and rather than holding up the other passengers, I suggested to the woman next in line that she go first. She laughed and said she would help. She was a woman of color, a beautiful brown color, and within moments I had my Charlie card. This was the first of several incidences of needing assistance throughout the afternoon. The train pulled into the station and off we headed to Government Center.

Disembarking from the train and entering the plaza, the streets were so quiet you would never know that only a few blocks away were throngs of thousands. There were tourists with cameras, families and young couples mostly, sightseeing and photographing. The walk from Government Center Plaza to the State House is rich in American history, and there were even tourists on the Common, seemingly unfazed by the demonstration underway.

At the State House entrance to the Commons, you could see tens of thousands counter protesters rallying, carrying signs, and chanting anti-hate and anti-fascist slogans. I am frankly not a person who feels safe in large crowds. But I have faced my fear twice this year, once for the Women’s March and yesterday, because I wanted to go to this demonstration for no other reason than to be one of a hundred million people-strong looking clearly into the eye of fascism to say, you will never gain power in America.

I held my breath and walked into the crowd. Along the criss-crossing paths of the Common were people of all ages and colors, in small groups and large, holding handmade signs and talking about their vision for America. My fear of crowds began to lessen, and at one point a young man, also of a beautiful brown color, lent me his hand so that I could stand on a bench to take a photo.

As I headed deeper into the crowd, a scuffle suddenly broke out. I was quickly caught in a rush of people and as I struggled to get out of the way, an older couple, also of beautiful brown colors, pulled me towards them. They were standing under a tree and instructed do not run, but “stand beneath this tree with us.” After a few minutes, the fighting ceased and we made our way together out of the center of the Commons.

Along Beacon Street, which was closed to traffic, there seemed to be a police headquarters of sort. This was also where the largest group of counter protesters had gathered. They had a megaphone and were leading the crowd in chants — “Black Lives Matter,” “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA, and “Whose streets? Our streets.” In repeated situations of high tension and raw emotions, the police kept their cool, handling haters and troublemakers with clarity of strategy and with lightning speed.

I left the rally at three o’clock and saw news footage taken later in the day, of police and counter protesters together chanting anti-hate slogans. I have to say I am so tremendously proud of the people of Massachusetts for coming together to protest peacefully for the love of their fellow man and humanity for all. #bostonstrong.I overheard this man say that he stitched his flag together the night before the protest, with no prior sewing experience.

More photos here.

BOSTON’S RAINBOW COALITION KICKS NAZI BUTTS

Forty thousand anti-Nazi demonstrators sent John Medlar and his cowardly band of fascists packing, after only one hour into what was meant to be a five-hour rally. The throngs of anti-white supremacy demonstrators gathered on the Boston Common was made of a diverse coalition. The great majority were there to protest peacefully.

The man in the red shirt getting arrested.

There were heated moments, with approximately two dozen arrests, but the well-prepared and cool heads of Boston Police officers prevailed.

The counter protesters completely eclipsed the fascists.

Hate groups are not welcome in Boston.

Chants such as “Black Lives Matter,” “Whose streets? Our streets,” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” rang loud and clear throughout the Boston Common.

Led by Commissioner William Evans, the Boston Police presence was tremendous. #bostonstrong

Bas-relief of Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment marching down Beacon Street, located on the Boston Common, opposite the State House. The Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry was the first documented African American regiment formed in the north, in 1863. Bronze bas-relief by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

 

BOSTON STRONG, BOSTON BEAUTIFUL, BOSTON WOMEN’S MARCH!

boston-womens-march-gloucester-contingent-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-jason-sarah-matilda-grow-copyright-kim-smithThe day started with a wonderful chance meet up with Gloucester students and the Grow and Abrams-Dowd family. Thanks to both families for their kindness; I so enjoyed the train ride into town with Bo, Sarah, and Jason. We were amongst the early birds arriving on the scene and it was tremendously exciting to see the preparations underway and the crowd swelling in number throughout the morning.boston-womens-march-1-copyright-kim-smith

Girls applying glitter, of course!
boston-womens-march-4-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-manchester-essex-high-school-copyright-kim-smithManchester-Essex Contingency

The newest estimate is perhaps 175,000 attendees at an event where initially 25,000 were expected. The Boston Women’s March was one of over 600 peaceful rallies held around the world. Reportedly not a single arrest related to the march took place in Boston.boston-womens-march-21-representative-ann-margaret-ferrante-copyright-kim-smith

Representative Ann Margaret’s friendly face in the crowd.

People rallied for different reasons–for compassion and dignity towards others, equality and justice for all, for better stewardship of our environment, affordable healthcare, to protect women’s reproductive rights, for equal opportunity for the disabled–along with many other issues. The signs carried reflected all our concerns. For those who may be wondering why and to what end, I believe it is the coalescing of many movements into one and the beginning of a new world movement. Women are refusing to move backward and most assuredly, there is more to come.boston-womens-march-22-representative-ann-margaret-ferrante-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-7-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-26-savannah-fox-tree-copyright-kim-smithFirst Nation’s Savannah Fox Tree stunned the crowd with her beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, sung in both Cherokee and English.boston-womens-march-19-pastor-mariama-white-hammond-copyright-kim-smith

Pastor Mariama White-Hammond from Bethel A.M.E. Church gave a compassionate sermon.boston-womens-march-28-senator-elizabeth-warren-copyright-kim-smith-jpg

Senator Elizabeth Warrenboston-womens-march-34-senator-ed-markey-copyright-kim-smith-jpg

Senator Ed Markeyboston-womens-march-28-congressman-joseph-kennedy-iii-copyright-kim-smith-jpgCongressman Joseph Kennedy III – the pink haze on several photos is my camera’s lens trying to see through an ocean of pink pussy hats 🙂

boston-womens-march-12-mayor-marty-walsh-copyright-kim-smith

Mayor Marty Walsh

boston-womens-march-15-kristen-mccosh-and-john-copyright-kim-smithDisability Commissionr Kristen McCosh and husband John McCosh

The official program began with music and dance performances, followed by speeches given by our fiercest advocates. The march was to follow however, it was delayed by several hours because the planned route was overflowing with marchers. Participants were not just from the immediate Boston neighborhoods, but had come from all around the state. The Boston Common and streets surrounding the Common had become a sea of people. Despite the human gridlock, kindness and patience prevailed.

All photos copyright Kim Smithboston-womens-march-35-congressman-joseph-kennedy-iii-copyright-kim-smith-jpg

boston-womens-march-23-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-9-copyright-kim-smith boston-womens-march-24-copyright-kim-smithGridlock at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets where two streams of marchers converged.

boston-womens-march-25-copyright-kim-smithBeacon Hill side streets were also jammed with marchers.

Thank You Policemen Everywhere

We have all been saddened, angered, horrified–emotions run deep and are varied–by the death of  MIT Officer Sean Collier, and the deaths of marathon spectators eight-year-old Martin Richard, BU student Lingzi Lu, and 29-year-old Krystle Cambell, as well as the many victims of the bombing whose lives have been permanently altered. I think too, everyone is filled with a great sense of pride for the extraordinary heroism and courage shown by our police officers and rescue workers. Their heroism and compassion was captured live through the extensive and still on-going media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Although an extreme example, we saw a real-time window into their world; a view we won’t quickly forget.

In thinking about how to express support, I first read about the Boston Police Foundation, but my thoughts then turned closer to home in regard to our own Gloucester police officers. I thought you would be interested to learn what I learned about the Gloucester Police Relief Fund.

Officer Scott Duffany, who is president of the Gloucester Police Relief Fund, explained that monies raised from the relief fund goes toward helping families of fallen officers, provides flags for fallen police officer’s graves, and is also directed towards funding projects and events specifically for the Gloucester community, including a continuing effort to help in the rebuilding of Newell Stadium, purchasing lights for the Little League field on the Boulevard, and help in funding the special needs dances held by the Gloucester Fraternity Club.

Chief Campanello asks us to ” focus on the MIT officer who gave his life and the victims of the explosions. We are very appreciative of all the support the public gives us and their sincere desire to help is very moving. This is what you and the citizens of Gloucester pay us to do and we are honored by that trust.”

Upcoming on July 19th is the Gloucester Police Relief Association annual fundraiser USWF Big Time Wresting Show, held at Talbot Rink. In no way were either Chief Campanello or Officer Duffany soliciting donations. I am suggesting, if you are able, to either stop by the police station to give, or send donations to:

The Gloucester Police Relief Association c/o Officer Scott Duffany

197 Main Street

Gloucester

Thank you!

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State Police Helicopter Infrared Video Of Second Bombing Suspect

State police released this video shot from the state police airwing helicopter hovering over the boat where the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect was arrested Friday night.