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The Accidental Activist—Barbara Worton Gets Political

The Accidental Activist — Barbara Worton Gets Political

John F. Kennedy was on the stump on Long Island a few days before election day in 1960. I was at one of his rallies. It was in a shopping center parking lot, I think, somewhere on Sunrise Highway. I was only eleven years old. My mom and dad were huge supporters, so she took me and my brother to hear Kennedy speak. I loved it, and after he was done, like the good little girl I was, as the crowd funneled out of the parking lot, I followed the guys in the suits with the ear sets and ended up in Kennedy’s entourage. I was shooed away, clearly not a threat, and back to mom and my brother right away. 

My next unintentional collision with activism was in Washington, D.C. I was 14. It was 1963. My friend Linda and I got separated from our Girl Scout troop and got caught up in the crowd of marchers on their way to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. We never saw him, but even at the farthest outskirts of the crowd we heard him.

A few years later, none of my activism was accidental. I hit the streets of NYC and my college campus to protest or support any number of things. When America seemed to settle down, at least a little it seemed, my marching took a rest. I put my fingers to work writing to support the advancement of women and diversity — and was lucky enough to get paid for it.

I was back on the street in 2017 — along with just about everyone I knew. I’m hoping that my get-out-the-votes postcard campaigns will be enough, and I won’t need to be back on the street again this year.