Laura Martin is one of the writers in our new book A Child Laughs, Prayers of Justice and Hope. She is Associate Pastor at Rock Spring Congregational Church in Arlington, Virginia and has written a powerful personal reflection about her experience being at the University of Virginia Medical Center on Saturday, August 12 and posted it on Facebook. I asked whether I could re-post it here as the guest post this week for our more international audience, and also asked for a little background of how she happened to be there. This is what she writes:
I attended the KKK counter-protest about a month/six weeks ago, and also went to the NAACP’s program that day. The clergy I spoke with at the NAACP event told me that they were even more concerned about the August 12th rally than the KKK rally. I asked to be connected with the Clergy Collective to be involved in plans for the weekend. The organizers sent out a call for people to be stationed at various “safe sites” and hospitals throughout the area. I volunteered for the hospital and was assigned to the UVA Medical Center, which is closest to downtown. I am also a graduate of UVA.
You (all five of you) walked in to the ER
With blood on your clothes.
Hit by sticks.
Beaten by shields
Thrust into you.
Police say that you can’t have your backpacks inside.
(Why didn’t they tell me that, as I sat with my own in the waiting room?)
You are still bleeding
Beyond the bandages.
I take your bags to my car.
You go back and are stitched,
Hospital on lockdown.
Three of you are released.
You want to return to the rally,
With hospital bracelets and bruises
People have been hit by a car.
Twenty stretchers lined up outside.
Clean white sheets pristine
Get back, get back.
Security check, security check.
There is not enough room in the ER to triage
So the lobby of the hospital is made into triage.
The other two of you are released.
“I had to get plastic surgery,” you tell me.
Your treatment took five hours.
“I am worried about my transgender friend.
She’s elderly and was left alone at the church.
Let’s go look for her.”
Driving through the streets.
She is at the church,
When I get home I find that I too