Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On not getting tear-gassed at the Ed Block Courage Awards.

I had a busy day yesterday. I got myself decent-looking, put in my hours at work, dashed home, laced up my sexiest black combat boots, snarfed some food, kissed Red and Lucy, grabbed my bag, and drove out to Martin’s West to protest the Ed Block Foundation’s decision to give Michael Vick a Courage Award.

It was super fun!

Because I spent a few weeks wishy-washily engaging in the type of self-sabotage that even we activists can fall prey to, it took me a while to actually commit to going. It was gonna be cold. It was on a Tuesday. I couldn’t get there until 6 anyway, and it started at 4. I didn’t have anyone to go with. Vick was going to get the stupid award anyway. I didn’t want to get into fights with anyone. Red would be worried crazy. All of those things happened, except the fights, and it was 100% worth it. You can check out the Sun’s coverage here and here. Jill, my favorite pet blogger, was there taking notes and making friends with a beautiful pit bull puppy named Dawny Girl. Later, she actually found herself sharing an elevator with Vick! Ack! What would you do?

Dawny Girl was nervous in such a big crowd, but she soon warmed up and loved being loved on.

I chatted with people I knew from B-More Dog. Awesome ladies from the Humane League of Baltimore passed out leaflets and vegan cookies, which were delicious. Later, they handed out battery-operated candles for a mini-vigil. We got on really well and I look forward to hanging with them at future events. I’ve never been a leafletter, but who knows, maybe I’ll give it a try one of these days!

I didn’t have a sign, but lots of other people didn’t have them either. The people who did more than made up for us with beauties like these:

Pittie history lesson: Sergeant Stubby!

We got many supportive honks and cheers from passing motorists, and only a few hollers of “I love Mike Vick!” I made friends with a chef whose wife stayed home because she knew she wouldn't have been able to control her temper. During the protest, she sent him a video of their two pit bulls, Pork Chop and Mozzarella, shredding a Vick chew toy. A Philly delegation showed up, which was wonderful. These two badasses came all the way down from New York:

Their signs read, "Whose Dog Wants to Go #1 on #7?" and "Dog Fighting: How Men with Small Dicks Feel Macho."

They planned to catch a few hours’ sleep on a friend’s couch before heading home. One got into a friendly dispute about baseball with one of the cops working the event. Yankees fans—nothing for ‘em. Her friend, a Mets fan, seemed to know this well.

Programming note: The police ruled. I swear, these were some of the nicest cops I’ve ever met. They told me where to park and how to get back to the freeway. They accepted animal-abuse ribbons, even though they couldn’t wear them on duty. They joked with us and took care of a guy who got verbally abusive. Baltimore County, whatever you’re paying your officers, they deserve more.

Did we plant any seeds of compassion or change anyone’s mind? I have no idea. I do know that perhaps a hundred people came together with the goal of bearing witness to so many stolen lives and reminding others that even though our culture may reward cruelty, it doesn’t have to be that way. In that, I think we were successful.


  1. Holy crap that sounds nice! Friendly cops!! Who knew?! Congrats on a night well spent :)

  2. Good for you for taking part in this!! LOVE the "small d!ck" poster!!

  3. It sounds like an awesome protest! These types of things give me hope for humanity. :)

  4. I am covered in goosebumps right now! Shannon, I am SO SO SO proud of you - thank you for doing this for all of those who couldn't be there and for all the pit bulls of the world.

    I can't believe your friend was in an elevator with Michael Vick. I have no idea what I would do in that situation. I would HAVE to say something, but I would be so overcome with rage that it would probably come out completely garbled and messed up and would end up making no sense at all. Michael Vick would be less offended and more amused, or depending on my frothing at the mouth, disturbed!

    I am REALLY surprised and pleased to hear that the cops were actually decent human beings for once. I know it is possible, but I just have a hard time believing it! That'll teach me to be so judgmental! I'm glad they were awesome and actually DID THEIR JOB and made sure you all had a right to safely practice your freedom of speech.

    I wish wish wish I lived somewhere that I could do things like this. Thanks for sharing this story!

  5. that is awesome! i wish i was closer - i would have been there. loved the poster and Dawny Girl - so cute. thanks for sharing your experience. now to find a Michael Vick chew toy.....................

  6. Fantastic work, VB! Good for you!