I showed up on Monday morning, not knowing what to expect. The rally that I had been asked to help organize, attend and even speak at was happening in about 90 minutes and at 9:30 AM, the City Market plaza was empty. Would anyone show up? Had Topher, Nichole and I wasted countless hours putting together an event that no one would show up to? Did I help distribute 4,000 flyers over the weekend to give my speech to an empty plaza?
As Topher, Nichole, several volunteers and I set up tables and a makeshift dressing room for the entertainment, it began to come together. Some of the sponsors showed up early to make sure everything was perfect. By 10:30, a few supporters had shown up and were waiting for the event to actually start. I’m a very prompt person, so at 11 when there were still only a few people in the plaza (and some vendors were still missing). Needless to say, I was beginning to worry. It was sometime around 11:15, after DJ Jackola had started his set, that I turned around and it seemed as if the plaza had magically filled with a hundred people. At that moment, I got teary eyed… we had done it. Even if these 100 people were only the ones who showed up, we had made an impact.
The next two hours went smoothly. Lots of cupcakes were given away, several entertainers performed, and a group of about five of us gave short speeches to the crowd. I’ll admit that I had written my speech at midnight the night before. I hadn’t given a speech in public since college and I was nervous about not just telling the story again, but making it personal and heartfelt. The night before, I read through the speech several times and it seemed good, but it wasn’t until I was reading it to a crowd that broke into cheers several times that I found myself barely able to hold it together. My actions and my words were moving these people to stand up and be heard. A quote by Ghandi that I included in my speech sums the events up perfectly.
“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
We estimate that 300-400 people made their way through the plaza over the two hour event. We plan on continuing it and having a 2nd annual Rally for Equality next fall. The community response has been so positive and the amount of sponsors we were able to get involved in such a short span leads us to feel that with proper planning and more time the sky is the limit for next year.