Wake up! Or Why I Became a Coastal Persister

Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel woke me up early this morning, as their duet of New York State of Mind resounded from my iphone. It was hard to get out of bed. I was tired; I was  sleepy. But the hour of lost sleep last night was totally compensated by the realization that thanks to the time change, an hour of the Trump administration had been deleted. And besides, rain or shine, the Coastal Persisters (or PerSisters, however one chooses to write it) was going public for the first time this morning.

Who are the Coastal Persisters? We are a group of women with purpose. Our goals are to build a community that informs and educates the members of the group and the general public-at-large, about pending legislation, elections, and political appointments that individuals in the group can act upon. We began meeting shortly after the Women’s March, when a few of us (two of whom had marched in Washington with their middle-school-aged daughters, and several marched in Amelia Island) got together to discuss our thoughts and feelings about the current political state of affairs. We were and are committed to being proactive, responsible (or response-able, however one chooses to write it) members of this democracy, and we are committed to supporting each other in that process.

Where and how were we going public this morning? We are in St. Simons Island, Georgia, which has a small airport for private planes and corporate jets. It has been lined with dozens of planes this weekend, as American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think-tank, hosted a 3-day conference with top Republican leaders (Paul Ryan included), and corporate CEO’s. The conference was held at the Cloister in Sea Island, which is on St. Simons Island. (Sea Island is a luxury resort, and according to their website, the only resort in the world to achieve four Forbes Five-Stars nine years in a row.) Word was that beginning at 8:30am they would be leaving as one plane after another would be taking off. We Coastal Persisters, along with our signs, were holding a quiet, respectful demonstration on public ground by the airport. We wanted to give those Republican leaders our opinions; some parting thoughts to mull over as they traveled home. And we were not alone. Women’s Voices of Glynn County (who had organized the demonstration), Grassroots Glynn, and a few women from a Savannah huddle, along with other interested citizens, were with us. A decided majority were Democrats but there were some Republicans in our midst as well. The group totaled about 100 participants, and the Jacksonville paper already has a report about it online:http://Jacksonville.com/news/Georgia/2017-03-12/picketers-greet-conservative-think-tank-members-they-leave-st-simons-Sunday

I enjoy being a part of the Coastal Persisters and have met some great women through it. Our group is small – about 20 – and we meet every week or two, in members’ homes. We’ll want to grow in the future, but for the time being, as we get to know each other and develop our focus, we’ll keep it small. Some of us have attended the town meeting with Rep. “Buddy” Carter, several of us have met with Jud Seymour, District Director in Brunswick, all of us make calls to our politicians in Washington and locally, we sign petitions, do research on one topic or another, and brainstorm about more things we can do to improve our community, our country and our world. Sometimes it feels like a part-time job; the time it takes to read emails and make calls for instance is discouraging. But nothing is as discouraging as the state of our country’s politics at this time, and we will persist and persist and persist. We’ve all been warned by one person or another and in one way or another, but WE WILL PERSIST to educate ourselves and others, to voice our concerns, to vote, and to encourage those who serve with integrity to run.

(The poster I made for today was Save our Earth. It was hard to choose among the many issues that are of grave concern to me, but I settled on Save Our Earth because it felt all-encompassing.)

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