Our Trip to DC to Support the J6 Political Prisoners
By Elizabeth Ohmen
On the evening of Saturday, April 8th of this year, the night before Easter, 5 of us piled into my well-worn minivan, voted least likely vehicle to be car jacked. My very tall and not slight husband was designated Security for the 4 of us, older women, physically fit and yet unsure of what we were getting ourselves into. We represented many Patriot women who had expressed interest in going but had been told that it might be too dangerous of a mission. Somehow, we had overcome the voices in our heads and were fueled by the passion in our hearts to show up for prisoners who had been unfairly accused and incarcerated.
We drove into DC, past the many landmarks of our Capitol, ending up in a residential neighborhood in SE, where there were quaint old homes and row houses. We were enroute to “The Gulag,” the DC Jail where approximately 18 people were being held in lousy conditions for unknown charges and without the right to a fair representation. To say the least, it seemed our country was now a third world nation.
We found ample parking near the prison right before 7 pm, on a tree lined street, alongside an old cemetery. Ornamental cherry trees were in bloom, and we stopped to take a happy picture of the 5 of us beside one of the trees, with the prison behind us, quite a contrast: freedom overlaying imprisonment. We had heard of this DC Vigil on “Freedom Corner” for a while and finally had gotten it together to visit. Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, had been holding the vigil for exactly 250 nights that very night. How incredible! People had heard about this and had shown up to celebrate it; whereas, we had just lucked out. It was an impressive milestone!! The commitment of the core group of “regulars” was incredible to say the least.
They looked like they practically lived there, putting out chairs and signs and food for a potluck of sorts that centered around chili dogs and fixings, and 2 Easter Lamb-Shaped Cakes. We wished we had known about this, or we would have brought some food. We thanked them for their strength and perseverance. Those of us who showed up this night were a somewhat diverse group. Some people from DC born outside the country- Jamaica and China, and some who had driven several hours from nearby states, us suburban types, and, of course, people from far away that were now making DC their home so that they could be there every night. We were all Patriots, lovers of the Constitution, people who knew right from wrong.
There were a few police about 100 feet away to keep the peace. Across the lane from us was a sight and sound to behold. It appeared as if there was a long gray haired MAGA supporter by himself. In actuality, he was a paid agitator with around 3 bullhorns and a simple red hat. He had an American flag that he was waving around when he wasn’t setting the bullhorns off in an ungodly long and ear-splitting siren. I noted that if I returned again to bring some noise canceling headphones. I felt pity for him. His sole purpose was to disrupt the peace and beauty of our get together. We heard from multiple people who tried to engage the police, that he wasn’t breaking the law, that he was entitled to his “free speech.” Who was paying him?! What a crazy thing to be doing! I quickly found some tissue to shove into one of my ears so that I didn’t lose my hearing. Some of the supporters had set up a music system that did a so-so job of drowning out that guy’s awful disruption.
On this particular night, a Conservative rapper showed up in support, and he entertained us. A few of us danced, and a bunch of people waved flags. We were celebrating our right to Freedom of Speech. The common good we felt together was palpable. People were kind and respectful of each other. An artist from Pennsylvania brought beautiful resin art pictures that he had made with patriotic themes that he generously gave out. People were sharing conversation mostly centered on the prisoners, their awful living conditions and how we might inspire others to make known their plights. Many of them were already imprisoned for over 2 years with no end in sight. We were there to bring Hope and possibly Change😉. We found out that often times the prisoners were moved about the country, and almost never were they in a jail near their homes, convenient to their loved ones. It became clear to us that forces were trying to break them emotionally and spiritually, and that made me feel sick to my stomach.
The prisoners were housed in a building around the corner from where we were assembled. This particular jail has strange horizontal windows, more like slits that I imagined that you’d have to be tall, or on a chair to see out of. As our crowd outside grew to about 25, they responded by flashing their lights, which made for an interesting show. The light flickering was clearly their main form of communication, until later when right before 9:00 P.M. one of the women got them on the phone. She rigged up her phone to the loudspeaker so that we could hear from many of the prisoners. It was clear that there was a strong relationship between the “regulars” and the prisoners. Through the wonders of technology, together we sang the National Anthem. It was perhaps the most soul-stirring rendition I had ever heard. It was followed by “Proud to be an American.” By then there were very few dry eyes among us.
This trip to DC to support the J6 Political Prisoners certainly proved to be quite a memorable night! We made our way back to the van and drove home a bit quieter than on the way there, so very grateful for our own freedom and very concerned about where our nation is heading.
Elizabeth Ohmen is the President of the Rural Women’s Republican Club.
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