Perhaps I’m stretching a bit, but there was a moment at the National Equality March that I will never forget. Perhaps I’ve made it more profound than it may have really been, but I feel the need to share it. When Lt. Dan Choi, the U.S. soldier and Arabic linguist discharged under the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy, took to the stage to speak to the crowd, his mouth was symbolically duct taped closed. He stood there for a moment, saluting the marchers before tearing the duct tape from his mouth and beginning his speech. It was a moment of dramatic flare that spoke volumes. Lt. Choi would not be silent:
As you’ll note, the video above was taken by CSPAN. I just happened to be stationed right next to a CSPAN cameraman. A couple of hours into the rally, the platform he was standing on broke and he came tumbling down. Thankfully, he was not injured, but without the platform, he would be unable to properly direct the camera and capture the shots like those you see in the above video.
After examination of the platform, it was discovered that the locking hinge on one leg had broken. A volunteer near by, a kindly lady that kept saying to the jaysays.com team, “Don’t rush the stage,” had the solution. She grabbed a roll of the nearby duct tape and wrapped the hinge over and over, fixing the cameraman’s perch.
I found the moment very metaphoric. Lt. Dan Choi used the duct tape as a symbol of silence; however, this volunteer used it to repair the cameraman’s platform and thus, make our voices heard.