Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Speaking Out

In early December, a bill supporting same-sex marriage worked its way through the New Jersey legislature. There was hope it would pass before the newly elected governor Christopher Christie, who promised a veto, took office. It was when the bill cleared the senate committee and seemed headed for a vote that I first noticed the flurry of activity in my own homeschooling community. Facebook proved an amazing tool, as many friends kept each other up to date of the bill's progress and of their volunteer effort to support the cause. One friend organized a get-together to make signs, to write letters, and to learn the ins and outs of phoning senators. Another spent hours at a local Garden State Equality office. Rally dates were posted, photos, and links. I was impressed with the drive of these amazing mamas and especially awed with the ones traveliing down to the state house in Trenton with young children. This was surely a part of homeschooling life calling out to be documented! When the next rally day approached, I shot an email to a few families asking if I might tag along with one. Angela promptly responded with enthusiasm. Many thanks to this amazing woman and her three children, Joseph (age 7), Hanna (age 5), and Miriam (age 2). Here is their story.

Getting 3 kids out the door, 2 dogs prepped for a day on their own -- no easy task. So when I show up on Angela's doorstep one fine December morning I feel 1) a sense of relief that for once I'm not the mama in charge and 2) a wonderful happiness that I can lend a helping hand.

Yeppie, the new puppy, wants so strongly to come along on our adventure! Miriam looks on with a smile:

A laughing Joseph on our ride to the state house:

Fierce and highly charming mama with babe on back prepared to fight the fight! Not only did she make it to Trenton once but she and her three made the over-an-hour trip four times.

We've arrived at the state house, where Angela meets homeschool friends as well as her friend, Cantor Meredith Greenberg (one of the 120 clergy members from 19 different faiths that signed letters in support of marriage equality). While a school bus passes in the background, Hannah takes a real-life lesson in the art of civics:

What we thought was going to be a rally day turns into a lobby day. Rallying with a bunch of young kids? -- definitely, no problem! Lobbying quietly through the state house? Hmmm... This might be difficult. The kids do really well as their mama's ears stay tuned-in to the instructions/advice laid out by the marriage equality volunteers:

Angela receives her instructions. After much meandering around the state house (while the young ones increasingly lose stamina), she finds a senator, approaches and speaks to him! Wow, this moment puts me in pure awe. Would I have the bravery to approach a politician and tell him what I thought? Not so sure. And here she is doing just that with a 5 yr old in arms!

Back on the road again, the youngest falls into into a quick sleep. Angelic, yes?

What a a great, educational experience this was for me! It was wonderful getting to know Angela's kids and following them around on an adventure. Back at their house, they show me their room before I head home to my own crew. Hannah, at home:

Although marriage equality was voted down, the fight continues.

More photos, more story:
A Day in Trenton


  1. The picture of Hannah with the bus in the background is awesome. But, my favorite is of Yeppie :-P

  2. Thanks for sharing this beauatiful family and their adventure... most definitly gives me a new perspective on just what can be done with the littles in tow... and how much they can learn from it too!
    And wonderful shots as usual!

  3. I'm so glad you tagged along to document this, Kate. THANK YOU!!

  4. homeschoolers fighting the good fight makes my day... thank you for this post!

  5. I love this story, and the way you tell it, too!