Humans of Hamden

Valerie Smith, 61

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“I grew up in the ’70s, this may have been the ‘60s. I remember my mother taking us out of school so we could go and protest the Vietnam War (at the time Valerie was about 10 years old).  That was kind of like a big ‘oh God mom, you’re breaking the rules.’ So I was aware that there’s something going on and aware that you’re supposed to do something about it and speak up about it, which makes me feel very empowered in a lot of ways. It was comfortable because I was with my mother and I knew she wasn’t going to let anything happen to me. A lot of it was sitting on the ground and listening to speeches, and then someone would come out and play some music and it was exciting to be involved in a mass movement of people like-minded, knowing that you were doing something that was actually meaningful. I think the marches that we have been having in the last couple of years sort of replicate some of that sense of there’s something really wrong going on here and people need to start absolutely doing some grassroots because otherwise, it’s not going to get fixed.”