Reinforcements arrive as the March reaches Baltimore
(BALTIMORE) The Free Our People March reached Baltimore today and were joined by 61 activists dedicated to have Congress pass MiCASSA this session. Two miles separated the new group from those that have marched over 100 miles from Philadelphia.
The two groups will unite tomorrow at a rally in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Bethany Stevens of Gainesville Florida will be at her first ADAPT action tomorrow. She predicts that it will be grueling, but she says that she is prepared for it.
“I can’t wait for the rally,” said Bethany, “I am excited about being part of a cause that I believe in passionately.”
Back on the road the marchers were facing rain. The rain fell sporadically at first, from noon to three o’clock a constant rain fell. Not as hard and heavy as the rain that followed the March out of Philadelphia. The ponchos came out again today and the group was on the road without delay.
Much of the gear got wet, but the most frightening issue was that there was no dry area to recharge the powerchairs. Pat King, the power wrangler, came up with a workable solution. The plan, however demanded sacrifice.
The powerchairs would have to be recharged in the Patterson Field ice skating rink, by the fire. The Free Our People marchers would have to make their beds on the cold damp concrete floor. An eerie mist rises from the floor and from between the cots arranged on the skating rink. Green bulbs light the inside of the large tent structure that holds the ice-ring and they create more of a creepy ambiance.
“I hope that we don’t all get sick,” said Stephanie Thomas looking around the room at all the sleeping marchers.
From the East, the Free Our People March will arrive at the Inner Harbor at noon. From the west, the reinforcements will join the group. The historic march will leave from the press conference and push on to Congress.
Nancy Salandra gave the people joining the march a brief overview of what to expect. She answered some questions and asked Lowell Aird and Babs Johnson to relate some experiences from the road.
“People cannot believe that we are doing this,” said Nancy. “They can’t believe that we are marching from Philadelphia to DC. The support is just great.”
After reaching the skating rink a Baltimore feast was prepared with Oysters, BBQ Chicken, beef, ham and cake. It was a large area to eat, however, the concrete floor was becoming cold and because of the rain it was wet.
“We are becoming folklore,” said Nancy in her attempt to explain just what it is like to be part of the Free Our People March, “we are literally a moving city.”
At both locations the mood was outstanding despite the rainy day. The new group had only a few questions about the logistics of the March. One person asked about the range of a power-chair, another about the bathrooms, but the focus of the entire group is on MiCASSA.
“When we are out there in the rain singing: no one gonna’ turn us ‘round,” said Dawn Russell. “We mean it.”
- Tim Wheat