Today, I started early. Ann Adams dropped me off at the intersection of North Grand and Main in Cobleskill at 5:22 in the morning. I was off!
It was cooler at that hour, and for about two minutes, I wished I had brought a wrap. Yeah, right, as if I was going to need a jacket in this weather!
Cobleskill is a nice town. But, like all towns, they are not pedestrian friendly walking into or out of them. There is always “the drip” and then the sidewalk ends abruptly, and I have to find a place to cross to the correct side of the street (I always walk facing the traffic.
I knew it was going to be a good day when my husband, Dan Van Riper drove up! I was so excited! Dan was just dropping in to see how I was doing. Wonderful to see him. I could not have done this trip without his unending support in every way. (Go check out his blog at http://www.albanyweblog.com)
He took some photos:
After Dan left, I noticed that every now and then I could hear some voices. Like, little mechanical lady-like voices. I was thinking it was not so hot – what is it with these voices? I did not want to tell anyone about them, but, hmmmm . . . Fortunately, the problem was solved when I realized that the app I had turned on to map my walk route, would every now and then announce some statistic about my walk. I will admit to being quite relieved that the heat was not getting to me and I was not hearing voices!!!
I am thrilled to pieces that the Journey for Justice has made Democracy Now!
“New York Woman Launches ‘Journey for Justice’ for Jailed Imam, Democracy Now!, July 16, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/16/headlines#71611 (text), video starts at 9:01
After a while, I was hungry and went into a little store in Richmondville. There, a man on the line asked if I was that woman walking. I said yes, and he immediately bought my coffee. While I sat and ate my breakfast sandwich, the women working in the store were so nice to me.
Pat Beetle found me drinking coffee. I am so honored and thrilled that Pat Beetle, who has spent her life working on issues of peace, would be my designated driver for today!
As it heated up, Pat would drive out, take a look at me, spritz me with water, and give me water. Wonderful.
Eventually, Fred Childs arrived! We talked and walked along at my glacial pace of barely two miles an hour. I am slow. But determined!
I was interviewed by Bob Joseph of WNBF radio station in Binghamton, NY. Its a little hard to do a phone interview while huffing and puffing along, but I think it went well.
John Davis arrived. I am staying with John tonight. Really, this is a luxury tour! I have my own room. John fed me lunch, let me take a really, really long shower, gave me use of his washing machine (OMG my clothes were so stinky I could hardly touch them – and bad smells don’t usually bother me!). Now, John is making me salmon dinner. Yes, folks, I am ROUGHING IT!
Tonight, I will give a talk in Cooperstown.
Update – posted on July 30
While on the Journey for Justice, it was very difficult for me to write down everything I did in a day. The heat was overwhelming and just tired me out. I thought I would have a lot of time to sit around and write – but, that was a fantasy! Between getting up as early as 4:15 to be on the road by 5:45, walking until the heat made it impossible, driving to a place for a siesta, and then walking in the evening, there was very little time for me to write. I plan to take the next few days to complete the posts.
Dan pointed out to me that I had not reported on my talk in Cooperstown!
When I first was planning the Journey, Paddy Lane put me in touch with Keith Schue who made arrangements for me to speak at the Cooperstown First Presbyterian Church, see: http://projectsalam.org/walk/Press_Release_Journey_for_Justice_Coop_and_Oneonta.pdf
Unfortunately, I did not meet Keith on this trip, as he was unexpectedly called out of town. Instead, he left me in the capable hands of John Davis.
After the delicious salmon dinner, John drove me to Cooperstown on back roads. These back roads went up and down hills, and the views were indescribably beautiful. John lives way off the beaten track, and the scenery was astonishing – farms and valleys and trees – just gorgeous.
I think by now it must have been 120 degrees in the shade (OK, a slight exaggeration!). However, more than a dozen people attended the presentation at the church. I was very impressed that so many people from Cooperstown would sit in this heat, in an un-air conditioned church, to hear me speak about the case of Yassin Aref and the targeting of Muslims.
And, I was very pleased that Elliot and Ann Adams attended also. Elliot gave a brief presentation about his fasting in solidarity with the men in Guantanamo.
I began my speech with the words of President Obama’s current nominee to be the director of the FBI, James Comey. This is what he said about the arrests of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain:
August 5, 2004 at a United States Department of Justice News Conference in Washington, DC, James Comey said, and I quote:
Last night, FBI agents in Albany, NY arrested two men on the basis of warrants issued on a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Albany.
Those men have been identified as 34 year old Yassin Muhiddin Aref and 49 year-old Mohammed Musharraf Hossain. Aref is the imam of the Masjid As-Salam mosque in Albany is a member of that mosque.
Let me say a word about what this case is and what it is not. This is not a case connected to the current terrorist threat. This is not a case where the defendants were discovered plotting terrorist violence.
If, as Mr. Comey says, this is not a case connected to terrorism or plotting of terrorist violence, then, what is this case about?
Read the rest of my speech at http://projectsalam.org/walk/Journey_for_Justice_Speech.pdf. Please note, as I do not read my speeches verbatim, there is variation between my given speech and my written speech.
After my presentation, people asked a few questions. However, due to the excessive heat, we did not stay long and were soon driving back to John Davis’ house.
– Lynne Jackson