Food and Freedom Rides: Day 1 By Aaron Cardona - L I V E   R E A L
Day 1.

Touchdown in St. Louis.  I am rushed with a feeling of joy and comfort as I see my comrades pulling up in the van.  It’s great to reconnect with this group of people.  Although we are from different parts of the country and from diverse backgrounds, I feel a very strong connection to these people.  I am glad to be with this group and find strength with my brothers and sisters.

On our ride leaving the downtown area, I am taken by the amount of billboards ads paid for by Monsanto.  I had never seen one before in my life.

As we pulled up to the Monsanto Headquarters, I guess I expected some kind of welcoming entrance that might have hours where one might tour the place, much like an amusement park.  As we come to a stop at the entrance and start to make our way out of the van, I am mesmerized that two security guards are already there, followed by a police car, seconds later.  As we pull out our banner, incense and seeds, more security and police cars arrive.  I wonder what have we done and why would they call out such an arsenal for a little group such as ourselves.  I wonder what kind of connections or pull they have that the cops would show up in less time that they would for a murder in the downtown.  What are they hiding?  They don’t even know us or who we are, but are seconds away from trying to arrest us.  What are they afraid of?

I wonder what the cops are thinking.  Are they Monsanto’s private little force, assigned for their personal protection?  Are they the Pinkerton’s of old?  I think of Monsanto’s lobbying power.  All that power that they have in politics and now I see their real power in the form of police power.  As we gather together in a circle, I feel that we have formed a force field.  In this area, together as one, we are strong.

I have faced intimidation before.  I have been arrested before.  With my brothers and sisters I feel strong and know that together we will hold the circle or go down together.  Whenever I find myself in a situation like this, I am reminded of the words of one of my spiritual mothers, “If you follow the truth and are persecuted because of it, you will know that you’re on the right path.

The response of the police officer who says he understands our plight is somewhat reassuring.  His humanity shows through his Pinkerton’s clothes.  But when that day comes, will he stand with us, or put me on my knees, yank my arms behind my back and tighten the handcuffs until they nearly cut off the circulation to my hands?

Today I will not be arrested.  This giant evil enemy has acknowledged us, blown steam down out through its nostrils to try and scare us off.  Now I know its power and what we are up against. We must prepare ourselves.  We will have our dance in the future.  Stay tuned.

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