Sunday, June 28, 2020

LGBTQ + BLM in Watertown, Connecticut, 6/27/20

Watertown, Connecticut

When I saw on a list published online by the Connecticut Democratic Party that this event was scheduled for Saturday at noon I knew I wanted to be there.

As with other BLM gatherings here in rural western Connecticut the participants were mostly not black, because hardly any blacks live here. However, this one had a big extra element. It was that LGBTQ+ partisans, allied with BLM, had organized it, gotten it listed on social media, gotten the Watertown Congregational Church involved. A lot of LGBTQ+ people live here. Like everywhere.

It was well organized by the young people who put it together. It began with a musician playing and singing some songs to get everyone in the mood. The Watertown Green is tiny, but has a gazebo in the center. They'd set up some minimal sound equipment.

Several of the young people who had organized the event spoke, with an interpreter signing with them. Once again I was struck by the fact that this was organized by young folks, though the turnout to participate crossed all age groups.

Connecticut's U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal showed up, unannounced. The organizers of the event and others around were a little stunned by this. They asked if he would speak to the gathered crowd after the scheduled speakers. Of course, he said he would.

One of the organizers asked for everyone to either lie down or take a knee for 8 minutes and forty three seconds. It's a powerful mechanism. I'm used to dealing with time intervals like this because of my alternate process photographic darkroom work, but as I moved around and tried to respectfully find positions I could make pictures from, I began to feel that this was the longest eight minutes I'd ever experienced. I think that's the point. It works.

Senator Blumenthal took a knee for the whole long moment.

The rainbow imagery combined with the BLM was really strong. For the Senator and the other speakers.

As always, just click on any one of the pictures to get a much larger and clearer view of them if you are using a large screen.


Billmcf1 said...
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Billmcf1 said...

These are so powerful, Carl, in themselves, as well as being a part of the historical record. I'm so glad you're recording the events of the past weeks and months, and many others will be glad, too, in the years ahead.

Carl Weese said...

Thanks, Bill. I think it's important that these rally/protest/activist events are happening everywhere. Not just top-down well organized big city affairs, but very grass roots small town activism. I found it interesting that this was a very self-contained event, concentrated around the speakers in the gazebo. Everyone's attention was there, nobody was standing on the sidewalk with their signs, so passing motorists didn't participate by honking. But the speakers—the kids and the senator—all got enthusiastic response to their points.