Right Place, Right Time

There was a screening of Democracy for Sale at the Haw River Ballroom last night. It was a portion of the American Divided series. Indeed, it was the portion about North Carolina. As the ballroom quickly filled during the preceding hour, I was reminded of something I read recently about the Women’s March (the portion in London):

“I was there because, otherwise, how can we see one another? When we’re refracted through a political and media culture that treats cooperation as schmaltz, equality as passe, honesty as optional, and dissenters as raging weirdos, how other than by congregating can we believe that we’re not alone?

Also, it is fun. I’d forgotten that about protests. ‘Protest’ was never the right word: indeed, was willfully wrong. It’s a celebration of love among strangers.” [1]

It may not have been a march, but it was wonderful to see people coming together ready to learn more, support better, and be inspired to act.

In fact, because it was a North Carolina story, watching it together, we found ourselves in a participatory audience — there were hisses for the bad guys and cheers for our local good guys.

Afterwards, there was a question and answer panel made up of representatives of the Alamance NAACP, Appalachian Voices, Democracy NC, and one of the creators and executive producers, Lucian Read.

The best part, though, was when the question and answer session was interrupted just long enough to share the update that the ACLU had filed a habeas corpus petition on behalf of those affected by the sudden immigration ban, and a federal judge had granted a stay (albeit limited, and by its nature, temporary). The room erupted in applause.

Perhaps the only place better to hear that news would have been at one of the demonstrations occurring at airports around the country. But, it was far better hearing it there in the Ballroom, among united strangers (and a few friends), than reading it on my laptop at home. At home, I might have let out a little cheer or a gasp, but it would have been nothing in comparison to hearing my clapping multiplied all around me.

“Hope and solidarity literally have more energy, and this is an important thing to remember about human beings, even as that energy struggles to find its structural iteration.” [2]


[1] Williams, Zoe, “Memo to Piers Morgan: Why do we march? It’s not just protest, it’s about love,” The Guardian, Kindle Edition, January 23, 2017, Comment and Debate.
[2] Williams.


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