sorry it has been so long since we posted. life and death have been throwing curve balls and it’s all we can do to catch them, much less write about it.
Last week, our team of escorts suffered a loss from which we will never recover. On the night of May 18th, Drew Allan Patterson passed away. He had been escorting in Louisville for more than 10 years. This leaves a massive void in the lives of many people. This loss has hit us hard emotionally and many of us need time to process more before writing about the valuable lessons and skills that Drew shared with us.
In the mean time,
change remains constant on the sidewalk too. Every Saturday, for as long as any of us have known we have had the use of a large parking lot across the street from the clinic. This lot must have at least 50 spaces and has provided parking for escorts, protesters and clients alike. The lot is privately owned and is leased to downtown workers on weekdays. The owner never minded it being used on weekends and had a good relationship with our dear Drew. A few weeks before Mother’s Day Mr. L told Drew he was concerned about liability due to escalating tensions and that no one was to use the lot at all.
This news was fairly disturbing to a number of the escorts, as we have relied so heavily on the lot for so long. Drew and a few others did thorough research into other available parking nearby. They obtained info about garage prices and compared it to meter rates. Contacts were made with surrounding business owners who gave permission to park in their lots. Drew worked hard perfecting a two-sided, color coded map with all the details.
Drew started taping off the lot as a courtesy to Mr L. This task has been assumed with a heavy heart by another long-term escort.
With all that sorted out we were still facing a huge adjustment in how we escort since our most active post had been eliminated. After much ado about nothing we realized that this was really going to fuck up the chasers a lot more than it would us as they had lost their lurking ground.
A number of the parking lots that we now have access to are off the alley behind the clinic. Escorts are aware of an increased security risk here. On the sidewalk there are usually at least 50 people present including police and there are always a number of cameras around. In the alley it’s a totally different scene. Those of us who have experienced hostile and aggressive anti’s and vulnerable, nervous or just plain annoyed clients and companions are weary of what could happen when tensions are running high, and the social pressure is low.
We try to stay out of the alley by stationing folks on the corners of the streets and rotating around the block. The antis are picking up on the parking patterns and sometimes congregate in the alley. We figure if they are back there we should be too, so as it is we spend a good bit of time in the alley. We have only been dealing with this a short time, but so far we have not had any problems.
Our escorts do an amazing job of communicating with each other, and the result is an incredibly organized collection of folks. The new parking arrangement is keeping us on our toes, but this is a change that we believe we can work with.
The antis are testing out new posts and spending more time outside of the crisis pregnancy center down the block. Often they spend a lot of time scampering about.
Seems like maybe decentralized parking may not be so bad after all.
check out our new Every Saturday Morning Flickr page!!!
coming soon: post on anti’s using their own kids as political tools. we see this all the time. recently two of our active chasers adopted two toddlers. now when they come to protest they each strap a child to their front sides, kid facing out. they then proceed to walk into and against groups of escorts, clients and companions while preaching and pushing with their little ones. it reminds me of the young mama who used to walk backwards down the cracked and bumpy sidewalk. she would do this in front of a group of folks heading to the clinic. she would hold her baby in her hands and stretch out her arms. it was not long before an officer told her to stop.
for reading, and thanks to everyone who has been SO supportive of the KY A Fund! Our recent fundraising efforts have accumulated almost $5,000. all that money will help low income Kentuckians access abortion care. YAY!!!