I normally don’t cover events in Baltimore County, but as a semi-employed journalist (who spent the past year working without pay) I feel it is important to stand with people who are struggling to stay in their homes. That’s why I joined approximately 20 other people at the Hunt Valley light rail station this afternoon for a press conference on behalf of a family facing foreclosure.
Unfortunately, I got to the event, which was more of a photo-op than a press conference, just as homeowner Tia Cordoni was finishing up remarks her remarks. I thought this was a tad odd since the event announcement said “meet up at 2:30pm, march begins at 3pm,” and I arrived at 2:34pm.
When she finished, she posed for another round of photos with her family. I really wanted to like her as she is effective speaker with a natural media presence… but I couldn’t shake the feeling I was listening to a stump speech.
She then hands the floor over to the event organizer, a young woman in her mid-20s, who calls everyone to “huddle up” and then asked if I everyone had a “chant sheet.” A man starts passing out pink slips of paper. I tried getting his attention a few times, but he never gave me one. She then decides we need a “run through” of the first chant. She turns to the man beside her and has him bark out the chant.
“Pre-da-tory len-ders – Crim-in-al off-en-ders!”
She ruffles her pretty face a bit: “a little madder.”
“PRE–DA–TORY LEN–DERS – CRIM–IN–AL OFF–EN–DERS!!!”
“Good, NOW, you sound angry,” she said with a broad smile. She then turns around and asks the group: “Did everyone drive here?”
I tried to tell her “no,” but the man who was leading the chant beat me to it. She volunteers to drive him…but not me, even though I was standing directly in front of her. Her next question: “does everyone know how to get to the bank? Good.”
She then goes over the basics of what they will once they get to the bank, telling us to be quick with getting into the lobby with our signs and immediately begin our chants, “before they shut the doors in our faces.”
“Let’s go,” Ms. Cordoni said impatiently (the camera was not on her at the time), and even though the march wasn’t slated to begin for another twelve minutes, she began the mile long trek….to their cars parked 10 feet away.
I, however, am left standing alone in the back of the now empty station as I hear a series of car doors slamming in front of me. Alone and abandoned… the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.