Guest speakers rallied for freedom and against government’s abuse of powers
The organizer for Saturday’s rally against mask and vaccination mandates said he is not anti-vax.
Instead, Rob Anderson is pro-freedom.
He and many, many more seem to agree.
Hundreds of folks rallied first outside at Faith Center Church, listening to guest speakers for more than an hour. Then they spread out on the sidewalks near busy intersections on Highway 503, holding signs and asking motorists to honk in support.
Organizers also had several spots along the highway for people to stop and sign the petition against mandating the vaccine for children.
“We are not anti-vaccine. We are not anti-COVID, as in COVID doesn’t exist. What we are is anti-discrimination and anti-tyranny,” Anderson said. “That’s at the heart of what is happening in our state. When you lay off teachers and healthcare workers … there is something at the heart of this that is really un-American.”
The rally featured talks from politicians, moms, a student, a physician’s assistant, among others. They shared what they have gone through during the pandemic.
Tim Hawkins, who is running for a school board position in the Hockinson School District, introduced three Hockinson women who have either lost their jobs or could lose their jobs with the school district because of the mandates.
Representative Vicki Kraft (Republican, 17th District) described the people in attendance as the tip of the spear in this battle. She said she was honored to be with them, standing for freedom. She said if the people are loud enough, eventually the ones who are abusing their powers will stop.
“We will stand up. I will continue standing for your children, and your grandchildren, and you and your rights. Together, we will push them back,” Kraft said.
The Washougal Moms spoke about the importance of holding school boards accountable.
Heidi St. John, a candidate for Congress in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, fired up the crowd, as well.
“Welcome to 18 months of two weeks to flatten the curve,” St. John said in her opening remarks. “How many of you guys knew this was a lie from the get-go?”
She said she does not recognize her nation anymore, but things can improve.
“We are a free people. And if you want to remain free, you need to act like free people. That means you stop wearing that face diaper, which is doing nothing for you,” St. John said.
She implored business owners to stop kicking people out of their stores for not wearing a mask.
“How many of you are ready to say, ‘I’m going to step up?’”
Melanie Gabriel, a student at Skyview High School, spoke about feeling discriminated against because of a mental health condition that is exacerbated by wearing a mask. She refuses to wear a mask. Because of this, she said, the school put her in a remedial class. She was an advanced student.
“It’s really frustrating when you build a robot one day and do first-grade math the next day,” she said.
She said that she rates how her day went by whether or not she was harassed by anyone at school.
Anderson noted the irony that schools hold anti-bullying days but Gabriel is bullied often at school.
Scott Miller, a physician’s assistant who had his license suspended recently, also was asked to say a few words. Miller has been encouraging patients to advocate for themselves.
“Show me the data,” he said more than once, wondering why children would need vaccination against COVID, why children need to wear masks, why “useless” tests are determining whether a school stays open.
The end of the speeches meant the beginning of the more public rally, with hundreds heading out to Highway 503.
Anderson reminded all in attendance that it should be a lawful, peaceful rally. Spread the word. Tell folks where to sign the petition.
All for freedom, he said.