Well, that was fun

Yeah, so I’m back from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where they held an event today to honor the missing children of Ohio. Although I showed up in an unofficial capacity only, I had a blast.

I mainly came cause Gina DeJesus, one of the Cleveland kidnap survivors, was speaking. The event was at the Messiah Lutheran Church. I showed up slightly late and had to sit in the back. There were several speakers before Gina, and I spent some time trying to figure out which one of the people sitting in the audience was her. It was fairly easy because half or more of the attendees were black, and most of the rest were white. I zeroed in on two brown-skinned women in the front but couldn’t figure out which one was Gina. They turned out to be Gina and her older sister Myra.

My view from the back of the church; Gina is on the right and Myra is on the left.
My view from the back of the church during the sisters’ speeches; Gina is on the right and Myra is on the left.

Anyway, Gina read a speech off several sheets of paper about how it was important to pay attention to missing persons bulletins, and it was important to pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your neighborhood and so on because you never knew who might be hiding something. I mean, people went inside Ariel Castro’s house and had no clue about the women held captive there. I think a lot of that is because the idea that your friend, neighbor or relative might have three kidnapped women locked in his basement is just something that would not occur to most people.

Myra spoke also, and talked about what life was like having a missing family member. One of the things she mentioned was how a man known to the family told her parents, reassuringly, something like “Don’t worry, they won’t find her dead.”

That man was named Ariel Castro.

There was an intermission before a middle school choir showed up to sing a song. I went around talking to people — not Gina, I was not sure whether to approach her or not at that point — and handing out business cards. There were booths about various topics set up in the lobby and an adorable remote-controlled talking boat that went around telling people about boat safety. I told the boat about the time I nearly drowned in Lake Michigan at age five, failing to mention the fact that this near-tragedy did not involve a boat, just some poorly supervised beach time.

Me and the talking robot boat.
Me and the talking robot boat.
Gina (far right) with members of the anti human trafficking group Break Every Chain.
Gina (far right) with members of the anti human trafficking group Break Every Chain.

So after all that was over we had a balloon release in the parking lot. Fortunately the wind cooperated.

Just before the balloon release.
Just before the balloon release.
Post balloon release. Each one has a missing child's name attached.
Post balloon release. Each one has a missing child’s name attached.

Just before we all left, I decided to approach Gina after seeing some other people do so. We didn’t really talk but she consented to have her photo taken with me before we parted ways. I wish I had remembered to smile in the picture. It was one of those days where it was cloudy out (it rained later) but the light hurt your eyes anyway, and I was squinting so hard I forgot about smiling.

Gina DeJesus (right) and me.
Gina DeJesus (right) and me.

And then I went home.

Altogether it was a most profitable visit. I made some contacts and hope to return next  year.

13 thoughts on “Well, that was fun

  1. Alice May 20, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    What a brave girl.

    • Meaghan May 21, 2017 / 6:12 am

      All the more so because I know she has learning disabilities and she had some difficulty reading her speech. It’s brave for ANYONE with learning disabilities to stand up and read a speech before a crowd of strangers, never mind a speech about the time when they were kidnapped and held captive and raped continuously for almost a decade.

  2. diamondlil16 May 20, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    Thank you Meaghan for sharing your experience. Your write up was excellent and also appreciate the photos you included.

    As Alice said, Gina is one brave young lady.

    Praying that all the families receive answers about their missing loved ones.

    (p.s.- looking good hon!)

    • Former Advance Resident May 20, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      Ditto plus LOVE the short hair! Very becoming

      • Meaghan May 21, 2017 / 6:14 am

        Thank you both! I must admit it’s much easier to take care of now and looks much neater in appearance. My hair is naturally coarse and when it was long it seems like no matter how much I brushed it and how carefully I braided/pinned/whatevered it, it always looked messy.

  3. Vincent May 21, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Balloon releases are litter releases. Each of those balloons is going to end up as a chunk of rubber littering an ocean, a lake, a river, a forest, a meadow, a park, someone’s back yard, a school ground, etc. Some poor birds or fishes might try to eat those discarded chunks of rubber and become sick as a result.

    Can’t people find some other means of honoring their missing loved ones? Can’t people find some other means of sending their prayers out to the skies?

    Releasing balloons into the air, knowing that those balloons will soon fall to the earth as trash, seems like an awfully insensitive and selfish thing to do — as though there’s nothing wrong with littering so long as it’s done in the name of some imagined higher cause.

    I understand that ballon releases are ceremonies, and that ceremonies serve very important purposes. I’m all in favor of remembering lost loved ones (all of them, even strangers and lost pets). I believe that prayer and ceremony work miracles. I just think that prayers and ceremonies to remember, honor, and do spiritual work on behalf of missing or lost people should be done without producing litter or causing harm to other living beings.

    We live in a time when Earth, Earth’s ecosystems, and almost all wild, non-human beings are suffering dramatically because of human carelessness and indifference. We should strive whenever possible to show care and love to our Mother Earth and our non-human relatives. If there is an Earth-friendly way of doing something, please choose the Earth-friendly way.

    • Jenny May 21, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      This guy 🙄

      • Vincent May 21, 2017 / 5:29 pm

        Jenny, if you disagree with my reasoning, please explain why. An emoticon is not a reason.

        The sarcasm and condescension conveyed by your use of that emoticon are silencing tactics.

        I presented my thoughts respectfully, aware that some persons with raw emotions might encounter them. I am disappointed that you reacted with sarcasm and condescension.

      • Sam May 22, 2017 / 1:23 am

        Jenny how can you put down what Vincent is saying? He explained thoughtfully and with facts what balloons do to wildlife and our environment. Maybe you need open your mind to this and offer a constructive solution rather than a snide remark.

    • Meaghan May 21, 2017 / 2:00 pm

      The decision wasn’t mine.

      • Vincent May 21, 2017 / 5:41 pm

        Of course it was not your decision.

        Thank you, Meaghan, for doing the important work that you do. I am a dedicated reader of your website and your blog.

        Perhaps, in the future, if you agree with my point and you have an opportunity to give input on how best to honor missing and lost loved ones, you could advise against balloon releases.

        Smudging — using sage or cedar smoke to send prayers and messages to guardian spirits — is one healthy, non-polluting alternative to balloon releases. I’m sure there are others.

    • L May 23, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Maybe release birds instead?

      • Meaghan May 24, 2017 / 12:49 pm

        Or butterflies.

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