I wasn't exactly going to the funeral as I didn't know Dr. Tiller. But the local NOW (National Organization for Women) group was looking for volunteers for "martyr guard"... we were going to stand in a line to show solidarity and support for Dr. Tiller's family and friends, so they'd see all of us standing strong. And I don't want to mention anything else too specific, but we knew Kansas' favorite assholes from the "God hates fags" church would be there too, and figured maybe we could distract from them.
Dr. Tiller's big slogan was "Attitude is everything" so NOW had blue shirts made up with that. Church members handed out white flowers. We stood in a line along the street in front of the church, and that was it, just stood there. The protesters had to stay 150 feet away due to new Kansas laws passed last year so that was nice, and we also had the Patriot Guard there to help us out... men and women on motorcycles with huge American flags, drawing more attention away from anyone bad.
During the actual service we rested in the shade, drank some water and talked. I met more of the NOW women, who are determined to really pick up the cause and keep up the pro-choice movement in Kansas, which is more important than ever now without Dr. Tiller. I made a silent pledge to myself to get involved. You know it's funny, but every time I see the phelps' protesting a funeral I think to myself, "Am I doing enough good in the world that they'll protest my funeral? Advocating for social justice? I gotta step up!"
After the service our line faced the church, and people walked out and shook our hands and thanked us for being there to watch out. We saw family members, friends, church goers. People who'd done clinic security, especially in the 90s when violence and threats were at their peak. Progressive, political, and spiritual leaders. Just in our blue-shirt group alone there were men and women from as far away as Iowa, who felt it was important to come down.
It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and it wasn't too hot. Lots of my friends were there. We've been scared this week, because with the death of Dr. Tiller a lot of hope died too. But we see how many of us are left to pick things up, and that's a big deal. Dr. Tiller used to say that it's never the wrong time to do the next right thing... that's what we've got to look for now.