This little bit I wrote in my journal on the way to Washington, D.C.
1/10/2009 - The Beginning
I'm on the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition bus (1 of 2) and we've been driving now for nearly 2 hours.
I have to pee, I think.
I barely made the bus this morning. The trains were especially slow but I don't often take the train at 6AM on a Saturday...so I wouldn't know.
It's supposed to rain the whole time. I'm screwed. My camera equipment - screwed.
I had thought about interviewing people and taking their photo, but I haven't really talked much. I haven't slept much and my energy is low, and I'm feeling unusually shy.
Next time. I can't help but think about what atrocities are happening right now in Gaza - as we scream for their freedom and march in solidarity, how many Gazans will die? Children? Mothers and fathers?
God is Palestinian
Weirdest thing happened. We stopped at the rest stop and I take out my camera just to try it out. It won't turn on and I realize I left my battery plugged into the wall. As I realize this, I'm imagining the emotional turmoil I will endure just by being in the event, wishing so much that I was photographing it. My friend Jeff comes out to greet me and I explain to him in a frenzy what has happened.
He looks at me and says, "Wait...what kind of camera do you have?"
I show it to him and he says, "I might have an extra battery in my bag...."
He runs back to the bus and when he returns, hands me a battery and says, "See if this fits." It fit perfectly. It felt like a miracle. My photos would be taken! I would be able to document the event with photos, in the case that no major news media would cover it. I would be able to tell our story.
God is Palestinian!
On the bus, there are independent discussions everywhere.
Behind me, one begins with 3-4 people, and inside of 10 minutes, the conversation has spread to 7-8 people.
People talk passionately about the times, Obama, Chicago's sit-in, Gaza demonstrations around the world.
I am sitting next to my new friend, Saleem. He is from Pakistan, and now lives in Queens with his three kids and his wife. We talk about Gaza and how the US media is particularly bent towards Israel, under reporting, or, not reporting at all, the truth of so many things that happen. As he talks about his children, I can feel both of us getting sad, thinking of the children of Gaza and how precious our children are to us.
We have arrived! Time to shoot.
While I will post a few photos, please visit: http://flickr.com/photos/vanissa/sets/72157612392360737/ to experience the entire set. Thank you.
Department of Veteran Affairs.
Little girl looks at all the protest gear!
A man praying.
My friend Zach using a megaphone.
Yes, it was crowded.
Megaphones are awesome. I want one.
Okay, yes I like shooting children....But also I choose to focus on them at these protests because this is very much about them . The kids I've met at these protests are 100x more brave than the average adult. I've seen these kids lead cheers at the top of their lungs.