First day, joining the walk late - mostly all white people, one brown man who is wearing a name tag for those of us white u.s.ofa. folks who have difficulties with any language but english.
We walk along a 2 lane road, which I'm sure passes for a major highway here in the Wisconsin country side. I'm trying not to get depressed walking alongside tons of gmo corn and soy. Finally we approach the road that leads us thru the center of 'town' to the church where my truck is parked and where we will spend the nite.
The town is one block, lengthened by the large, old courthouse building and on the opposite side of the street, the 'modern' police building.
As we enter the town, I try to get folks to walk down the main street. There has been no vehicle traffic & I'm sure the townsfolks will be amazed if not thrilled or furious, to see a protest on their street.
I give up as the walkers surge across the street - at the cross walk - and continue to walk on the sidewalk.
I am holding out our Black Womyn's Lives Matter banner as we walk. An angry white man in a large burgundy pick-up truck revs his engine as
he passes us, shouting something, the exact words we're not sure but we
know he's not happy.
Very shortly later, he returns and this time I can hear him say "White men's lives matter"... o.k.
As we get about halfway down the block, two big armed white men slip out of an inset door and insert themselves into our walk.
I ask them how many police does this town have, as I have seen a green sign just before we entered town saying there are 350 folks living here.
I was told there are 8 police and 4 are former military. We are asked what it is that we are doing. Someone declares we are on an anti-drone walk from Madison to the Volk base. Several others continue to talk about drones and our opposition to them.
I have to speak up loudly to say actually we're making the connection between police violence against Black people and the military violence, using drones against brown people.
I tell the police that what we really want from them is for them to lay down their weapons, take off that uniform & that bullet proof vest, and join us.
I feel several folks gasp and one of the youngest, white barefoot fellas reaches out his hand to shake the police officer's hand and make nice.
I move away and continue bannering.
The police leave and I feel like I need to ask if the group has agreements around dealing with the police. One of the older white men, balding on the top with long straggly hair down his back and a matching straggly beard down his front blurts out his support for the police.
He continues to rant about how the police came to his house when his crazy daughter was threatening to kill him and his wife - who also loves the police - and the police intervened, saving them from their child, and taking her away.
I try to express my sorrow at his family dynamics at the same time standing firm against police handling such a situation - does he know that many times police murder family members when called, especially if the people are Black? I assume his wife and daughter are white, but even white folks have been murdered by police responding to mental health issues.
I tell him it is a huge failure of our society in general and for him & his family in particular, that the police were the only people he could call during this crisis. I asked him, what if our society put money into providing mental health services for your family, what if there was someone else you could have called to come help them?
Our break is over, but before he slips off the bench, one of the other marchers kinda jokingly comments "so you're a trouble maker, eh?" to which I respond I sure as hell hope so. And I hope I'm amongst trouble-makers - why else are we here?