Grandmother sentenced to sweeping street in subfreezing weather as punishment for protesting

 

 

dc

                                                                                                                                                      Photo: Emily J. Reynolds, COX WASHINGTON BUREAU Diane Baker, a 60-year old hospice chaplain at United Church of Christ in Dallas, was one of 71 people arrested four months ago for crossing a police line to sit on the steps of a Senate office building during a protest in Washington. As punishment, she was sentenced to eight hours of street sweeping on Tuesday — in 20 degree weather.

Baker suffers from myoclonic epilepsy, a degenerative muscle condition that causes her voice to quiver and hands to shake.

“I’m a rather fragile, small woman,” said Baker.  “Being a minister, I offered to do counseling, but this is what they gave me.”

She wore 10 multicolored T-shirts with messages ranging from “End the War in Iraq” to “Shut Down Guantanamo” and “Save Darfur.” She also wore her clerical stole with a dove carrying an olive branch sewn into the fabric.

But on top of her layers of pacifism, Baker donned a fluorescent red vest with bold letters to remind her of why she was holding a dust bin and broom: “DC Superior Court Community Service.”

As Baker slowly dragged her trash can down the streets of downtown Washington, she acknowledged that she had learned a lesson, albeit one on the “stupidity” of the justice system in “a country built on freedom of speech.”

“They like to use this as a system of shame,” she said, crouching down to pick up a cigarette butt lodged in a crack in the sidewalk. “But I’m not ashamed to be an American.”‘

via the Austin American Statesman, registration required

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One Response

  1. Love this lady’s spirit. How shameful of the judge.

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