Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BOYCOTT (11/01/18)
TITLE: Not here! Not now!
By Jack Taylor
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“All I really wanted was to have a space to pray,” I told her.
Chloe Adams paced back and forth behind the ball diamond like an army sergeant marshalling her troops even though there was only one freshman recruit, me.
“You’ve got friends, right?” she barked as she slung her JanSport backpack down on the bleachers.
“I guess,” I said.
“Good, go get ten of them and we’ll plaster this place with posters, letters, verses, emails and Instagrams until they see we’re serious.” She flipped open an iPad. “Prayer ought to be allowed.”
“What if no one wants to come?” I asked.
“Nonsense,” she snapped like a rabid bulldog. “Twenty percent of educated people are ready to boycott something if they can believe in what you’re saying. Get them here and I’ll get them believing.”
I surprised myself by convincing twelve of my classmates to check out the ‘flaming chick’ who was out to change the world. I also promised to treat them to a Starbucks if they showed up after class.
Chloe stood on an upper bleacher and peered over us like an anteater examining the ants below. “There’s one thing for sure, troops.” She raked her fingers through her strawberry bangs with one hand and pointed at us with the other. “You’re not going to take down Nike or Nestle or another one of those soul-destroying companies. Fortunately, we’re here to stand up for our rights as God-fearing, Bible-believing, life-loving citizens of this great country. Do I hear an amen?”
Corky Evans was the only one who yelled “Amen!” but it was enough to get Chloe going again.
“We’ll start with a sit-in at the doors to the cafeteria. That’ll get their attention. Take away their food and they’ll listen.”
Corky raised his hand as if he was still in class. “Isn’t it the teachers stopping you from praying? Why take it out on the students. They’ll just get mad at us?”
Chloe stomped down to the bottom bench near Corky. “Unless we get the rest of those desk-pilots in formation we’re not going to strike the heart of the enemy. We are David against Goliath here. We are fighting for the fundamental rights of our freedom.”
Angel Haskins spoke up. “I came for the Starbucks and the show. You think kids like us can really change anything? I can’t even get my math right.”
Chloe stepped back up to her perch, the sun glistening off her head and making it seem aflame. “It only takes one to change something,” she said. “First, we learn the chant. ‘Not here! Not now!’ Now, together.”
We practiced a few times, got instructions on how to get posters made up, and then I took everyone to Starbucks. Half of the group thought Chloe was out of her mind and thanked me for the show.
To my surprise, Chloe had twenty students supporting her in the lunchtime boycott. By the end of lunch, a third of the student body was primed for a sit-in. She had changed the chant to “Pray here! Pray now!” I’m not sure half the kids knew what we were talking about but it sure got the attention of the teachers.
Principal Shelby threatened us all with suspension if we didn’t get back to class. A few of the students got up and left.
Chloe pulled out her Bible and started reading to all of us. Something about Elisha and Arameans and the fact that there were more with us than against us. Then she started saying the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father who art in heaven…”. She had given us copies so about ten of us stood and read it with her.
It wasn’t the most memorable result in history, but I sure had time to pray at home for a few days and I learned that standing up for what you believe can make a difference. When my favorite companies tout the lengths they are going to, to support the LGBTQ community, I sometimes have to swallow twice at not giving in to my habits of buying that product anyway.
Chloe Adams got transferred to another school and I heard she ended up as a missionary somewhere. I like to think that our boycott was a springboard for her world-changing ministry.
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