My first Rapid Response

Back in September, I attended a training to be an observer at ICE raids. I hadn’t heard anything from them since then.

This morning, I woke up on the late side and was lounging in bed when I looked at my phone and saw a text from the Rapid Response people, telling me an incident had been reported.

My initial thought was: Too bad I can’t go. I’m not showered or dressed, my hair is a mess, I’m low on emotional resources right now, I may be a little sick, and I haven’t had anything to eat yet today (and I don’t do well on low blood sugar). And there were a bunch of people at that training in September; surely some of them will be more able to respond.

I regretfully opened up Facebook to start in on my morning’s social media. And then I thought: can I fix any of those obstacles?

I don’t need to shower.

I can brush my hair without washing it.

I’m not that low on emotional resources. Think about the folks who might be getting dragged out of their home right now. They could use some support.

I don’t feel sick this morning.

I can grab a raisin roll from the fridge and eat that to tide me over.

So now the obstacles were feeling kind of like excuses. So I checked Google Maps to see where the incident was, and discovered that it was—well, I suppose I shouldn’t say where, but let’s just say within walking distance of my home. Which made it feel more possible for me to do this. So I pulled on pants, grabbed half a raisin roll, brushed my hair, checked the temperature outside, pulled on a stocking cap to cover my hair, and headed out.

I told the dispatcher I was on my way. They asked me to tell them when I arrived, and to look for some things that had been reported, which made me think that maybe nobody else was responding.

But when I arrived, I found someone else there. (We quickly and easily identified each other as Rapid Response people.) We didn’t see the things that had been reported, so she called the dispatcher and went looking. While she was doing that, two other people arrived. (All three of the others who showed up were white women.) One of them found the reported things, and after some further examination and some further communication with the dispatcher, we were told we could go—it was a false alarm.

(I’m sorry to be vague about some of these details; I’m just thinking I probably shouldn’t give too many details in a public post.)

So why am I posting all of this? Partly just because it was an interesting experience, but mostly as a reminder to myself that sometimes the immediate obstacles can be easily worked around if necessary, and that sometimes the potential benefit to someone else is worth pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

And also partly to give y’all a sense of possibility, if any of you were thinking of joining an effort like this one; because for me, seeing that someone I know has done something makes it easier for me to imagine myself doing it.

The group whose training I attended was PACT, People Acting in Community Together. There are other groups doing similar things in other areas.

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