Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Meck, did his best to crash the Hillary Clinton rally held in Charlotte today, but two innocent bystanders crashed his party. Well...one innocent bystander...the other is MCDP 1st Vice Chair and volunteer extraordinaire Jane Whitley. Jane's one of those people that when something needs to be done, there she is. Today, something needed to be done.
I'ma let her tell the story.
So this happened today: State Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg via Massachusetts) showed up outside the Hillary Clinton event in NoDa to hold a press conference on the sidewalk outside the Neighborhood Theatre.
I was volunteering at the event and standing nearby. A friend of mine, Sandra Clory, walked across the street as the press conference was starting and stood on the sidewalk behind the Senator and the Republican State Party Executive Director as they were being interviewed. (I later learned that Sandra did not even know who was being interviewed, but was simply curious about what was going on.) So I walked over and stood beside Sandra on the sidewalk.
Up walks a woman with Rucho's entourage (later identified as the Senator's wife) who took Sandra by the shoulder and informed her that she could not stand there. Sandra told her not to touch her again. The woman touched her again, and repeated that we had to move because this was "their" event.
I told her that we were on a public sidewalk and we had every right to stand there. She persisted, and again told us to move. Or rather, she told Sandra to move and seemed to ignore me. So I walked over and notified the police, who engaged in a discussion with Sandra and Mrs. Rucho.
While this discussion was taking place, I resumed my position behind the rightwing party crashers so that I could exercise my First Amendment right to disagree with the Republican BS they were spouting. And waved to the police officers handling the situation, who smiled and waved back as a way of confirming that free speech is still perfectly legal in this great country. Especially when you are standing on taxpayer funded public property.
For those of you who don't know, Jane's friend Sandra is African American. In other words, Jane, who is white, was left alone while the woman of color was physically accosted - taken by the shoulder - and told to move.
We'll just let that sink in for a moment.