We went. We saw. We marched.
We were surrounded by parents and relatives who I was not only honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with, but was humbled to hear their personal stories as well. Stories of grief, loss, perseverance and hope. Stories of how vaccines had injured, or in some cases killed, their precious children. On Wednesday, 8,500 people (and the thousands they represent) had their voices heard.
As we approached the place where all the marchers were gathering, at the magnificent Washington Monument, I couldn’t help but feel a plethora of emotions welling up within me. We could see people far away walking in the same direction we were heading, wearing the same green shirts. Ahead we could see the groundswell of the crowd gathering, lining up and growing larger by the second. Couples (like us), grandparents, even entire families had traveled so far to be there on that day. Traveled to make a statement, to stand shoulder to shoulder, to turn the tide of what is happening with vaccines today in America and create change.
Before long we started walking the walk. Slowly but surely, we headed down Independence Ave., proudly holding up our signs and pictures as we walked by each intersection and the hundreds of cars who had to stop and wait for our entire parade to pass by. Most stared, some honked. No one heckled or booed. How could they? The signs spoke for themselves.
We were energized but solemn. Each and every one of us would have given anything to not be there. To not ever have heard of autism or vaccine injury. To not had our children disabled. To have never needed a rally to get the government to pay attention to the epidemic they are enabling.
But we were, and we have, and they are, and we did.
And as our pace slowed down a bit while we passed the Health and Human Services building (parents of the CDC), we raised our voices a little bit louder and wondered if they were watching the mass of people below them from their cushy office chairs above. Were they wondering what we were doing and saying? Did they notice the faces of the people they are continuing to ignore? People who are “weak” and have no purpose except to fulfill their “unfit” destiny in this “survival of the fittest” mentality? I doubt they could be bothered. But I hope they were. I hope they were very bothered, indeed.
Finally as the entire group made it’s way to the mall area of the Capital, we were handed water and gathered around a small stage that had been set up across from a large platform full of the press corp. Cameras galore, we started to get excited thinking that this rally was actually going to get the coverage it deserved. Most of us realized that with the Obama/Clinton situation going on that it would be hard to be seen, but we remained optimistic.
First Dr Jay Gordon spoke (famous pediatrician, and doctor to Jenny McCarthy’s son Evan), and talked about how proud he was of all of us, and pointed out the thousands that would never be able to be at a rally like this, due to the extensive amounts of money they have to pay for their child’s treatment and thus lack of any funds to travel. Next Dr Boyd Haley (I might be out of order with a few of these guys, so my apologies if that’s the case), renowned scientist and expert on mercury, came up to the podium and reminded us all that science is on our side but no one will read it. He reprimanded the press for their continued refusal to cover the story in an objective way (i.e., nothing but regurgitating flawed CDC information). I’m told that many videos from the rally ended when Dr Haley said “you members of the press are a big part of the problem”, even though the rally went on another hour. Apparently the mainstream press don’t like to be called on their shizzle.
After Dr Haley was Dr Jerry Kartzinel, the doctor that has treated Evan and countless others, and recovered them from autism. He said that he himself injected his son with MMR and watched him slowly slip away in the days and weeks following. He said that his wife told him, “You broke him, now you fix him!”, and he is.
Next we heard RFK Jr speak intelligently and passionately, and I have to say he was one of the most inspiring and compelling speakers I’ve ever heard. Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say:
Next came Jim Carrey who was my favorite of the day. He had so many incredible things to share, I wish I could just type out every word here. Suffice to say I totally love the guy. Here’s a clip:
And finally Jenny spoke. She has a very charismatic and down to Earth way about her, that we love from seeing her speak (and meeting her in person) at the Autism One conference. She had awesome stuff to say (and I will share more clips later) but the most moving part of her speech was actually when she was not talking at all. She had each of us hold up a picture of our affected children (some people held up pictures for families that could not be there) and asked us to hold them all facing the press while she played a song. It was by far the most difficult part of the rally to get through, and I had a hard time comprehending every one of those pictures. Thankfully my husband got it on video:
I’m not sure if you can feel the energy in that video, but I know it does not do that moment justice. You can’t see the thousands of people or most of the pictures because we were way on the side in the back, but you can get an idea of what happened. It was life changing. Truly.
After that the rally ended, and we all dispersed. Hugs, exchanging information, taking a few last pictures. Some people went to a meet and greet with Jenny and Jim, others met with people from their State and went to meetings with the legislators to talk about the most pressing issues in vaccines, research and laws.
I have more to tell you, specifically the AFTERMATH, which not only includes abysmal and biased press coverage, but torrential rain and tornados (apparently I took one with me in my pocket when I left the Midwest).
So for now, enjoy the videos and feel free to ask any questions. Also, if you come across any news coverage, I’m happy to post them here, so email them to me or leave the link in the comments. I won’t link anything that pretends to be about the rally but is actually about how TOTALLY AWESOME AND SAFE vaccines are. Good luck finding something like that.
Thanks so very very much to my readers, my friends, my twitter followers and my family (for taming the wild beasts back home so we could do this). You all supporting us and cheering us on is what kept us going that day and every day. I adore you and love you and would totally spoon you if you were here. Peace.
**Here’s a link to press pics of the event. Great shots of the speakers.
**Flickr pool for Green Our Vaccines Rally