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Perry Protest Report
Perry/AFA Picket Report
The picket against Texas Governor Rick Perry and the American Family Associations's big prayer event in Houston, went well. A great many diverse groups were represented, and the intense media coverage was shared by our side very nicely. They seemed to love our live music, which included a full walking jazz band.
The Westboro Baptist Church surprised me, by having more picketers than usual, around 20, and stayed longer than I expected, at 2 full hours. It was funny however, not hearing a roar of angry yelling at them, from anti-WBC protestors. They sang their songs, re-written covers, with really harsh anti-gay Christian lyrics, and were not shouted down at all. It seems that since they were picketing against Perry and the AFA as well, they weren't the center of attention.
There was lots of live music from the sane picketers too, including a walking jazz band, another acoustic guitarist, and myself on acoustic guitar as well. A few tv news camera guys zoomed in on me and my guitar, as I made up lyrics about Perry and the AFA, on the spot, which was fun.
The heat was on, literally, from early in the morning, but there were several large areas of sidewalk that had shade from big trees along the way, so picketers broke off into groups, and operated in the shade. I didn't hear about anyone having a problem with the heat, though it did inspire a lot of folks to leave by noon.
AA was represented well on the sidewalk, as I brought a table and gave out a lot of AA magazines, pamphlets, buttons and business cards.
I met with a lot of AA members and was impressed with how many were picketing for the very first time in their lives. By the way, AA had the only table with literature. Plus free water and picket signs. All of which seemed to be a hit.
Some odd forms of protest seen there include a dancing Santa Claus, and a person blowing a ram's horn in the general direction of the stadium. They were on a footbridge, high over Kirby Rd. and out of conversation range, so we couldn't figure out which group, if any, they were with.
As you have probably heard by now, the turnout for the prayer rally was impressive, over 10,000, despite what their website registration implied. Of course we had a lot of Christians on our side too, compared to how many Christians we normally picket alongside.
Another type of Christian was driving by, and made a different kind of impression on us. We counted over a dozen different people in cars driving past us on Kirby, who gave us the middle finger. Some were adamant about it, slowing down and rolling down a window first. Then, perhaps even more disturbing, a child in a back seat, holding up a Bible to the window, looking at us, pointing it at each person she saw on the sidewalk, like the Bible was a lazer gun. Poor little girl, we all thought out loud.
A lot of picketers went inside the stadium and have posted pics from that, and some returned to the sidewalk with reports that Gov. Perry got all hellfire and brimstone, really loudly for a few minutes. Let's all remember that, for the future, I say.
So after about 4 hours of picketing, I and my organizers were well heated, tired and hungry, so we left early, and went to Joe's Crab Shack for seafood and beer. All in all it was a very good day to be an activist. Many thanks to everyone who helped and came out. We estimate that between 100 and 250 picketers in total were there, throughout the day, and that's pretty nice. I look forward to the next one. :o)
Texas State Director,