State Retiree WE MATTER Car Rally II

09/22/2020

           The morning was sunny and a little chilly as people began showing up between 7:15 and 8:00am on the Graul’s SuperMarket parking lot for the Covid WE MATTER Car Rally II. People were arriving getting out of their cars and trucks to decorate for the rally. There were balloons, streamers, even a Hogan doll (with a diaper lol) and signs – plenty of signs.

           Then 8:00 am arrived and we pulled out of Graul’s headed to downtown Annapolis but before we could get there we had to stop at the longest light in history. When the light changed only about three or four cars could make the turn onto Rowe Blvd. We stopped at the Treasury building and sat and waited for everyone before heading off to Church Circle, driving past the Governor’s house before turning up a side road to make our way around State Circle where we were stopped by Capital police. Officer Cheng asked a bunch of questions like who are we, why are we here, how long will we be here, etc. Our attorney gave her contact information in case any issue would arise. Then we began our parade around State Circle before going back to Church Circle and riding past the Governor’s Mansion.

        The red lights and the flashing police cars broke us up a little bit, but all that caused was major gridlock around Church Circle. No one could go anywhere. It was a good feeling. We made Annapolis stand still because the circle was filled with State Retirees honking, yelling, waving signs out of windows and blasting air guns. I don’t think Annapolis has ever been treated to a group off ticked of senior citizens like we were today. According to the sign-up sheet we had 18 people participating in today’s car rally and about 15 cars (think if we had more!) the police in the cars would have had to get out of those flashing vehicles and direct traffic!   Maybe next time…..

 

             I would like to personally thank everyone who showed up and waved and honked on behalf of themselves, this movement and all the seniors who could not make it today:

 

Evelyn Arvin

Clara and Anthony Agro

Joan Baer

Janice Brown

Judy Calabrese

Carol and Bud Eckstorm

Mary Frye

Barb and Jim Hall

Lois Herty

Ike and Carolyn Johnson

Kathy and Buzz Kilian

Renee Hiltner Mierczak

Marsi Miranda

Susan Oberfeld

Diane Ramsey

Patrick & Patricia Siemek

Mary Smith

Brian Smith

Adrian S. Tiggle

 

Pictures (courtesy of Vickie Agro and Mary Frye) and a video will be uploaded shortly, but for right now all I can offer is my recap and my thanks. Thank you everyone.

 

Remember - We Matter

 

Ken Fitch

 

Comment

      What a beautiful morning. I arrived at Graul’s at 8:30am to prepare for our State Retiree We Matter Car Rally and there were State Retiree cars already on the parking lot!  People were out decorating their cars with signs and balloons ready to let Annapolis know that we were not going away. And cars kept coming! The turnout was amazing. HATS OFF to the State retirees who came to this car rally. All in all we had about 35 cars filling up the parking lot. And some cars had three or four people with signs to hold up in the car! I felt humbled that so many came out to fight for their prescription drug coverage. Personally I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to this cause. We received a blessing before we got started and everyone then hopped into their cars.

       Well our calvacade of cars was so many that people could not get into the parking lot. This was bad for so many reasons, first we were across from a police station, second we were blocking access to the supermarket on their private lot, and third (and most important) my sister Kathy Kilian was running late and hadn’t even arrived yet! Maybe find a bigger lot? Don’t know but will consider it for another rally. So we got started. When we pulled out of the parking lot and into the street, I stopped at the light and looked behind me. All the decorated State Retiree cars had not even left the parking lot! Wow. That line of cars was that long! When my sister arrived at Graul’s she said she saw the last of the cars leaving with balloons waving in the wind! It was a sight to see.

       Our cars started honking when we reached the Treasury building and then it was off to the races! People waved, clapped, and gave our caravan the thumbs up. We went around Church Circle and the Sheriffs came out of the Courthouse and stood there each time we passed. We drove by the Governor’s Mansion where I slowed the car as much as I could to give his office an opportunity to see that we were there. That is when the honking got real loud! That was funny because it seemed like everything stopped. Construction workers in Lawyers Square stopped working looking at the never ending parade of cars. Passing the House and Senate Buildings was a great thrill because they had COVID-19 testing stations set up and a lot of people were on the lot. Everything stopped each time we went by. Our attorney rolled down the window (and using a megaphone) began to chant to the honking cars as we went back around.  We drove this route for about 25 minutes and each successive pass we saw more and more Capitol police. One blocked the street that went behind the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol. The next pass we saw another police car sitting in front of the Mansion, the next pass we saw police on cycles. The more times we went, the more people gathered. People were walking in the streets, taking videos of our calvacade. What a beautiful thing.

       I want to thank everyone who signed up and showed up! We had people who came as far as Salisbury and Pylesville make it to Annapolis this morning. And if you didn’t come you really missed something. It was thrilling and you got a great adrenaline rush. When we got back to Graul’s everyone agreed that it was fun and where pleased with the support given by onlookers. The first question asked – when’s the next one? Yup. It was a positive rally.

       

          And you know what? Everyone sat in air conditioning cause you didn’t have to stand in that hot sun. You didn’t have to worry about parking and didn’t have to walk anywhere. All you did was decorate your car, drive around and let your signs express your opinions. The attorney said we were exercising our First Amendment rights under the Constitution. I said we were showing Maryland’s seat of Government that WE MATTER.

       

         P.S.: Sorry. No pictures. The attorney took pictures, but wouldn’t you know it they didn’t come out. She did the same thing at our street rally. SMH. She is a great lawyer, but a terrible photographer. If anyone else took pictures please send them to me MDRetireesRX@gmail.com

 

Thanks!

Ken Fitch

       P.S.S.  The attorney found some of the pictures.  You can click on this link to view.  

          It was grey and overcast. The WE MATTER TOO Rally was scheduled at 10:30 but Deb and I arrived at 8:45. The first to show up was Keith Krickler. Together the three of us greeted lawmakers as they entered the House and Senate Buildings saying “State Retirees Matter”. This was before Deb got on the megaphone and drowned out the busses and construction noise with her chants. Delegate Paul Corderman (one of the Fantastic Four) stopped by and again said he supported us as he went into the House building. Then they started to arrive. Who? The State Retirees. One was in a walker because she broke her kneecap – she stood and chanted and made her presence felt. One had broken his foot and had to sit holding a sign – but he was there. State Retirees from Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Salisbury, Queen Anne, St. Mary’s, Carroll, Harford, Thurmont, Anne Arundel and Worchester County showed up to be heard and counted.

               Because of construction all over the place, our rally was limited to the corner in front of the Governor’s mansion. It was effective because Gov. Hogan popped his head outside and then went back into the mansion and left out of the back way to avoid the demonstrators. In fact, some lawmakers used the underground tunnels in order to avoid our chants and shouts. But the ones who came out, where giving thumbs up, smiling and responding positively to our presence.

                 I would like to thank everyone who attended. There were a lot of people who said they would attend and did not show up, which was disappointing, but the ones who did demonstrated to the people that make the laws, that this issue will not go away, WE MATTER will not go away, and I will not go away. For those of you sitting on the fence waiting for others to do the heavy lifting – what is stopping you from participating? Is this lethargy why the general assembly chose to remove this benefit from State Retirees? This was two hours of your life rallying for an issue that will save you thousands. It should have been worth it because WE MATTER

           

Remember – WE MATTER

Ken Fitch

          You can click on this link to view the pictures. 

(410) 683-2200

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