Interview with Jane Duwors

So describe for us the march and then the rally in front of the federal building where the crowd didn't want to hear Teddy Kennedy.


We assembled here in front of the information center. We decided we would have a match, ah, a city-wide march. And people would meet and we'd all go to City Hall plaza and try to address the mayor and address the governor, the legislature. So we picked a date and we, from South Boston assembled here and we marched along Broadway over Broadway bridge. We met people from Hyde Park at the corner of Tremont Street. People from East Boston came in by carloads through the tunnel and they met with the people of Charlestown and they marched over the bridge from Charlestown down to, ah, City Hall plaza. And the dais was set there and people, we had different speakers that were going to address the crowd. And Ted Kennedy happened to be one of them. At this we thought that this foolish social experiment had gone on long enough and that it was time for somebody to listen to the people. We always thought that the majority ruled and that the right to redress was taken seriously and listened to seriously. But we were fast becoming aware that, ah, all we were given was lip service. People would listen to us, shake their heads, "Isn't that crazy?" they'd say. Or something that we got so sick of hearing was, "Off the record let me tell you I wouldn't do that to my child either but, you know, for the record I have to state that I'm for, I'm for this, ah, program." So we, we were getting tired of hearing that and we weren't in any mood to listen to more of the same. We wanted the elected officials to tell us how to go about repealing this court law. What we would have to do to get somebody in a position to remedy it, to listen to it. To listen to our concerns. And Ted Kennedy got up to the microphone and Ted Kennedy was the epitome of the Boston Irish, you know, everybody loved Ted Kennedy. The Kennedy family, they were all gods. So the people thought at the time that we were fast learning that Ted Kennedy was a hypocrite. He was all for other people putting their children on busses and having them driven across town. But his, his children didn't even partake of public education. They were all in private schools and we thought that somebody who had children in private schools who didn't have to walk ten feet in our moccasins shouldn't be chastising us and telling us, "Put our children on bus." We knew that we knew what was best for our children. And not people who didn't have to live it. And we were so disenchanted with them and there were thousands of us standing there. And he got up and the people started to, not boo him but hiss him, politely hiss him. And somebody yelled, "Turn your back on him when he starts to speak. Show him the same consideration that he's showing us. He's turned his back on our problems. Show him that we don't want him any longer to represent us. Turn your back on him." And we did. He started to speak, people started to turn their backs. And I was right up close to the front to the, ah, dais, so I could see him a little short. And I like to see everything that's going on. And he started to speak and people started to turn around and you could see the look of consternation appear on his face. You know, a frown like, "Why would people do this to me, what's their problem?" And finally the whole crowd was facing the opposite direction, we were facing the Kennedy building instead of Ted Kennedy on the dais, and someone said, "We've heard enough, tell him to go, he hasn't anything to say, he's not going to help us." He started sputtering, he started losing his composure, and, um, he kept talking and the things he said were not making any sense whatsoever to us. We were just not in the mood to hear it. We wanted help on how we could redress what we thought was a grievous situation. Something that was harming our children, that was very detrimental to our children, which was you know, the basic right of a parent to choose how a child should be educated and where a child should be educated. So someone pulled the plug, and the loud speaker went dead. And people started saying, "Go home, Ted. Go home, Ted." And he was going to speak, loudspeaker or no loudspeaker until he finally decided it was best for him to leave because people were really starting to get upset. And, ah, he started down off the dais and, God, had to run across the plaza because he had a group of women, scorned women, and not scorned in love, but scorned more importantly in the, ah, how would I say it, scorned more importantly in the most important thing in their lives, their children. Their children were being scorned. And they chased him and they shouted at him, and they, probably, some of them were asking him for help, and others were probably asking him to go home and get out, and he ran into the Kennedy building, and they locked the doors, and the women pounded on the doors to try to get in. And the plate glass windows shattered, and, I think we were as shocked as he was when we saw the glass shatter, but the, the lesson that we learned that day was, you know, the lip service continues and the, the bitterness and the sense of, um, alienation continued to grow and didn't get any, any less because there was no help forthcoming from that area.