The Events in Tucson, Part 4

We made it through the week, but not without a lot of extra angst. We planned on Thursday what we would do to keep the kids save if the WBC protested outside out school. It is not easy trying to convince teenagers that doing nothing is the best course of action.

I got to school on Friday at 6:45 AM to find several police cars already in front of the school. That was a comforting sight. Those of us volunteering met in front of the school, only to hear that the WBC members hadn’t gotten on the plane to leave Kansas, so good news for us. The police wanted us to stay through the next half hour to help students enter in case others decided to show and protest.

When we went back out, the Angels were across the street. This is a group of people who show to protect groups from the WBC protests. They do this around the country, and specifically in Tucson to keep the families of shooting victims from having to see the hate.

I got tears in my eyes. It was a beautiful site, these people who don’t know us who came to protect our students from these hate-filled people. The kids thought they were the “bad guys,” and so we were explaining to them this whole situation. A lot of students were convinced they were the KKK, so yet again we had interesting discussions in class, rather than doing a lot of math.

Everyone was tired, and it was certainly difficult maintaining the usual classroom decorum, but as I’ve said, sometimes systems of equations take a backseat to life. I’m still feeling very raw about everything, but I’ve been getting good feedback for the Art from the Heart project. I spent a few hours today working on my piece, and I should be able to finish it up tomorrow. It is raw, like my emotions, but I think it conveys a powerful message. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.

3 Responses to “The Events in Tucson, Part 4”

  • Melinda:

    So glad you got these pics. Amelia & I attended the planning meeting that coordinated the various groups who joined efforts to prevent the WBC from having an effective presence in Tucson. There were people who built the wings based on advice from other cities who’ve held counter-protests, others who donated money or materials, along with groups of medics, parking coordinators, legal observers at the ready, and more. The plan from the start was to go ahead whether WBC showed up or not. The majority just wore white and stayed silent. Thousands of Tucsonans got involved – through Facebook, Twitter, maybe even a few phone calls. Talk about creating peace!

  • Melinda:

    Oops! I left out that the initial formation was for Christina’s funeral, quickly adding Judge Roll’s and the memorial services, and so on.
    This was an amazing display of social media in action. It went from several nearly simultaneous facebook groups to a single one (for some reason I can’t paste a link here, look on FB for “We will not let Fred Phelps or WBC protest any church in Tucson”)
    This was followed by a meeting where a website ( and a listserve. These actions brought 10,000 people together in a few days.

    Now… who says we can’t create peace!

  • I did not know the background to all this, so thank you. It is amazing when you realize what a concerted effort can do, and then when you factor in channeling the power of social media, it becomes incredible. It also makes one think about the efforts of those who came before and just how incredibly hard they had to work to make something happen. Maybe there really is hope…..

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