I never thought it would be me, but I confess, I always thought the role of a chaperone for your kids’ school field trips were for the mothers. They have more patience, right? They’re more nurturing? They have the time?
For Najwa’s first field trip, Nduku asked me to go. My job is quite flexible and she was just starting a new one. I think. Whatever the reason, I said yes. And ever since, I’ve been a chaperone to almost all of them. Enough that her classmates don’t always listen to me anymore because of the familiarity.
This latest trip, though, wasn’t like the others. We’ve gone to Lincoln’s Cabin, a bunch of different museums, Kenilworth Gardens, Cox Farm and more. They’ve all been mostly educational with a huge dose of fun. This one had a bit more serious theme to it. We were going to the U.S. Capitol to participate in a protest.
The kids spent the morning creating their protest posters. They had to pick a cause and write a message. It was fascinating seeing what they wanted to voice their opinions about. Black Lives Matter was common, stopping gun violence as well, but also saving the planet and animals.
Before heading out we were all given some advice. There would be other protesters out there and not everyone is protesting for the same thing. In fact, there are likely to be those who disagree with what the kids were protesting for. In other words, the MAGA crowd. The kids were advised to politely let them know that they simply disagree and leave it at that. If anyone starts to heckle them, find a parent. Funny thing is I wasn’t sure if that was advice for the kids or a way to make sure we parents behaved!
I’m all for the freedom of speech. You want to rock your MAGA hat, I support you. You think global warming is a hoax or animals are property, no issues from me. Do you. If you’re Blue Lives Matter, I don’t disagree. But if you heckle a child because of his or her belief, well, we just may have to call those blue lives. And the teachers were advising the kids to come to us? This is about to get interesting.
We hopped on the Metro, exited at L’Enfant Plaza and on the way up the escalator, we ran into other protesters. I’m sure their views were aligned with the kids, but who knows. They all started clapping. Then another group of high schoolers were there and also hooted their support. It was kind of crazy actually. I’m not even sure if the kids understood what was happening. All they knew were there were all these adults and big people making a bunch of noise because of them. Or maybe not. The kids didn’t seem to notice anything; just another day away from school.
After a quick stop to the National Museum of the American Indian to eat and play, we marched out to the U.S. Capitol.
There was already a crowd. There were people on a stage riling up the crowd. There were a ton of cameras, some news crews, and small crowds of MAGA hat-wearing protesters. But just about everyone was a high school at the least, but mostly adults. When DC Prep came onto the scene, in their baby blue uniforms and hand-crafted signs, they garnered a lot of attention. I mean, news crews were interviewing the kids!
The support was great. No issues. And the kids at times seemed oblivious to what was happening. I mean, it was hot for the first time in a while so some were getting tired, especially after all the running around at the museum and the relatively long walk, for a kid anyway. But when someone pointed the video camera at them, they all perked up and got into the game.
One of Najwa’s friend’s dad, who is a mainstay on these field trips, is also a videographer. I mean, I thought I shot a lot of photos; he outshoots all the parents for all the events combined. And we’re fortunate he does a lot of video as well.