Joan Gregory, who coordinates the environmental ministry at the First Unitarian Church, welcomed supporters and said DeChristopher has been a member of the Unitarian church for some time, and even before he was a member, he was coming to the church and trying to figure out who he was.
Peter, from the trio Peter, Paul and Mary, didn’t arrive until 12:40 a.m., but Bethany opened the vigil singing “This Little Light of Mine” and several other songs that energized the crowd. During one song, she forgot the lyrics, but asked the crowd if they knew the words. No one did. “Well, then I can make up anything I want,” she said. And she did, keeping the crowd entertained with her humor and improvised lyrics.
When Peter arrived, he told a story of how Bethany was arrested at 14 years old, during a demonstration in South Africa. He said times have changed and the Bush administration and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft changed the way civil-disobedient acts are viewed. He told the crowd the acts of conscious and demonstrations, instead of being understood as a great part of American life, are now prohibited. He added that acts of conscious, including what DeChristopher did, are viewed by some as un-American.
Peter, Bethany and Rufus continued to play songs, and continually reminded the crowd that if they come together and work for a common goal, positive change can take place.