Found a star on my birthday
By Sandy Semans Ross
you have to look very hard to find the bright spots in life, but on
Monday in Raleigh, I didn’t have to look – the bright spots came to me.
I was arrested at the Legislative Building on Monday night,
although I was not part of the official protest. I went to hold my own
little protest because I feel very strongly that the protesters' civil
rights are being violated. They have a Constitutional right to take
their complaints to the capital, to express their opinions and to be
inside the Legislative Building – it is a public building and they are
members of the public. I read the building rules and can’t find any
that are being violated.
After they are arrested, they are
told that they can't enter the building until after their court date
although they are charged only with misdemeanors and have not been
found guilty in a court of law.
Monday was my birthday, so I
chose to share it by handing out cupcakes, watching the protest, and
witnessing the arrests. When the announcement was made to vacate the area
in the Legislative Building, the protesters were in front of the Senate
Chamber. I went to the opposite side of the rotunda and stood by the
doors to the House Chamber.
All but the protesters left the
area except for me. I stood silently and quietly leaning against the
wall. The police officers were courteous and polite, but repeatedly said
I should leave my vigil post or I would be arrested. After the
protesters were handcuffed and led away, I was the only remaining
person. And I was arrested.
That’s the nutshell version of what
happened, but it wouldn’t be complete without adding that legislators
who occupied the first couple of offices passed when first entering the
building, stood at their doors to welcome those who came in to voice
their objections to the travesties that are taking place in the General
Assembly. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch their names, but I would like
to tell them how much that impressed me.
But the biggest,
brightest star appeared a few hours later when I was released from jail
and met outside by a small black woman who introduced herself as Sen.
Earline Parmon, who was there to support those who were arrested for
speaking up and stepping out.
I was really taken off guard at
that moment, not expecting a legislator to take the trouble of not only
supporting the protesters, but taking the time to meet them face to face
as a way of saying “we are all in this together.”
dinner, I caught a ride to the church where they were feeding
protesters and where I was to meet Beth Storie of Manteo who
participated in the protest and was arrested that night, Linda Willey
of Manteo who was booked a couple of weeks before, and Lovey Selby who
was there to offer moral support and film the event.
eating my dinner when Sen. Parmon walked in the door and began going
table to table to make sure that she hadn’t missed anyone at the
Her bio on the legislative website says she
served five terms in the House and one term in the Senate. She is from
Winston-Salem and noted as being retired, but my guess is that just
means she doesn’t get lots of money for her hard work.
be incorrect to describe her as a rising star because it is obvious
that she is already casting her bright light wherever she can.
on my birthday, I had a birthday bash with about 3,000 in attendance,
exercised my Civil Rights, got a free glamour portrait, aka mug shot,
and found a new hero.
Thank you, Sen. Parmon, for demonstrating true humility and class.
Semans Ross, former managing editor of The Outer Banks Sentinel, is a
freelance writer who lives in Stumpy Point. You can read more
her blogs at www.sunshineobx.blogspot.com.)