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Obama Celebrations: No kids allowed in Ventura

November 5, 2008

As people come together all over the country
to celebrate Barack Obama’s victory,
black, white, brown, young, old, families, straights, gays
come together with tears  and hugs and champagne toasts,
as people come together to celebrate yes we can–
we walked from our house to our polling place
and from there to a gathering
where we were told no we can not–
we were asked to leave the Obama celebration
the gathering in our neighborhood
at the Sylvia White Gallery on Main Street in Ventura.

We were asked to leave because we have a child,
a child so well behaved that people commented on it to us,
a child who has grown up at art openings and poetry readings,
a small child yes almost 5, a kindergartener
a child who knew about Barack Obama
a child who drew the line on her mother’s ballot
a child who dropped his father’s ballet in the box
a child who has been to a dozen war protests
a child who understood what it meant that Obama won.

This child born of parents and grandparents and great grandparents
all born and raised in this town or the next one over
voting in every election–
this child was told to leave as all the other children were told to leave.

This child who represents to many why they fought so hard
for Obama’s victory
for this change
this child had to leave–
a red balloon tied to his shoe
he cried most of the way home.
There were no words to explain:
except these–

Boycott Sylvia White Gallery in midtown Ventura:
Let them know that this is a town which includes its children
in its life, its art, its politics.
They are the newcomers here. School them.
This is not the Big City. This is a family town.

Back home we listen to Obama on the radio ask
“Is there anyone who still questions the power of our democracy?”

Yes, Mr President elect, there is. Our democracy wasn’t powerful enough
to welcome children to the Sylvia White Gallery on Main Street in Ventura on election night.

Sylvia White Gallery
1783 East Main Street
Ventura, California 93001

Yes, we can, Mr President-Elect. We elected you, but we’re not done. There is much we can do, yes we can. But we must include everyone. And yes we can.

“This victory alone is not the change we seek — it is only the chance to make that change,” Obama said.

So come on up for the rising…

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2008 5:43 am

    WOW, Your son is awesome (tell him I said, “hi!”) I’m sorry to hear about this…Obama will fix it! ;-)

    Go hang with the real Venturans. Not those poseurs. Or come and see me in SD!

  2. November 5, 2008 6:31 am

    I’ll read this to him tomorrow…we liked being able to walk, that this was in our neighborhood. The boy was very excited about walking there. We had to practically drag him home. He didn’t understand that he wasn’t welcome.

    And there were “real” Venturans there–Robert Catalucci remember him from Art City old days? and other friends from the peace movement…

  3. Jason permalink
    November 6, 2008 9:13 pm

    I was a bit bothered by some of her comments in Ventana magazine when they profiled her. She seems to think she’s bringing a level of culture to Ventura, in the form of her gallery, that we were lacking of our own device – and that her gallery somehow represents a sophistication that we should praise her for.

    Yeah, whatever. Art is dead. Long live the real.

  4. Jason permalink
    November 6, 2008 9:15 pm

    Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday!! I’m glad I’ve had the chance to get closer with you, as an inspiration and friend.

  5. jeannie Willard permalink
    November 16, 2008 8:47 am

    I am sorry your child had this negative experience at Sylvia White Gallery. She must not have actually listened to what Barack Obama was saying all this time… maybe a bit too “full of herself”.
    Your son sounds like a great kid!!!
    I have sent the Gallery an e-mail telling them they did a very wrong thing and should apologize.. Obama would have wanted children to celebrate with him as well.

  6. November 16, 2008 4:08 pm

    I agree with you completely. They sent me an email explaining that they usually allow kids in the gallery but they were afraid the children would damage the artwork in all the excitement. They insist that children are welcome and encouraged to visit the gallery.

    If they had those worries, they shouldn’t have offered to host it.

  7. Ray permalink
    November 19, 2008 4:03 am

    I realize it is late to be adding a comment to this post. I hope that you are going to do something special with your son on inauguration day. As Americans we often do not realize how amazing and rare it is to have power peacefully transfered from one group to another. To watch Barack Obama take the oath of office will be a wonderful experience, even from 3,000 miles away.


  1. Oh, All the Places You Will Go, All the People You Will See, All That You Will Do! « art predator
  2. Erik ReeL’s “Dreaming Down Under” in “Be a Saint–Valentine Art Auction” at Sylvia White Gallery « Blog Archive « Compassionate Rebel
  3. I want YOU to VOTE! « art predator

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