I own a restaurant in Washington, DC, about four blocks from the speaker’s stage for March For Our Lives. It’s called Merzi, look us up!
I had a front row seat to the Women’s March in 2017, and saw hundreds of thousands of people engaging in their First Amendment rights to assemble, speak, and petition the government. It was awe-inspiring and emotionally moving.
Today, I get to see hundreds of thousands of people – many of them high school students – assemble to demand change from their government and society. There are early estimates that put the participation at more than one million people. I believe it – I’ve watched a steady stream of people walk past my restaurant on a closed 7th Street for the last hour or more, and it’s still early.
I’m at my restaurant with my team, getting ready to provide a free public restroom serve food to the hungry protesters for the next 12+ hours.
As cynical as I can tend to get, as a veteran of the restaurant industry for 20+ years, and as a liberal living under the Trump regime, days like today inspire me.
In our country, the military and police are dispatched to protect people protesting the government. It’s not flawless, and it backfires sometimes, sure. But I walked past countless National Guard troops and DCMPD officers to get to work this morning – most of whom are pro-gun, and all of whom were smiling and happy to do their jobs protecting people with whom they likely disagree.
In our country, a group of children, armed with nothing more than a good education and a social media account or two, can organize a million people to help them seek redress.
In our country, television coverage of this march is likely going to be watched by more people than March Madness.
And while our president scurries away to Mar-a-Lago to play yet another round of golf, the kids from a few towns over will take the reins and lead the national conversation.
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