Saturday, August 10th, 2013. It was a perfect day for a lemonade stand. The lemons were freshly squeezed the night before. The sun was shining. We arrived at 1pm to Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA. It was a beautiful day.
We immediately set up the table and the supplies for the lemonade. We hung the Lemonade Freedom sign in front of the table. The kids were ready to go. Before we could even finish getting ready, we already had people lining up to buy an ice cold glass of lemonade.
The turnout was amazing. People came from all over the country for this year’s Lemonade Freedom Day. There were independent journalists, activists, supporters, and kids.
While the kids were selling the lemonade, the adults were sparking up some absolutely amazing conversations with the customers and the other people passing by. I had some of the best and most inspirational conversations with complete strangers there. It was amazing!
I couldn’t believe the amount of people who were completely fed up, not only with the shutting down of kids’ lemonade stands, but also with the “police state” that we are living in. (And these were their words not mine!) The same can be said for the amount of people who walked away with the desire to become involved. The support and enthusiasm in the crowd was amazing!
As the day went by, we were all starting to get a little bit tired. We weren’t sure how much longer we were going to stay. We even considered packing it in. That was until a Philadelphia Police Officer paid us a visit.
As soon as the officer arrived on the scene, he was surrounded by yellow Lemonade Freedom shirts and a myriad of video cameras. He instructed us that we would have to shut down, because we do not have a permit. After a few minutes of attempted dialogue with this officer, despite his threats, we ultimately refused to shut the stand down, and the officer walked around the corner and made a few phone calls.
At this point, we weren’t sure what the outcome would be. So we made some preparations at the stand. Would we be ticketed, and fined? Would we be arrested? None of us knew. But the stand continued to thrive. It almost seems as though the police encounter actually boosted sales a bit.
An hour or so later, we received a visit from another Philadelphia Police Officer. This time it was a Sergeant. He informed us that they would not bother us. There would be no citations, no arrests. That was it. The day was a full success.
Despite being threatened with arrest, we were able to successfully run an “illegal” lemonade stand, without a permit in Philadelphia. We did far better than break even on our sales, and the two girls who were operating the stand ended up walking away with some good earnings for their hard work.
We had some great outreach with some amazing individuals throughout the day.
And this is why it was so inspirational. As activists, sometimes we fight hard and long, and get little or no respect. But not today. The comments, the encouragement, the support of the people was in full force. As activists, we know that we made a difference today. We know that we’ve lit sparks in the minds and hearts of countless others. We have inspired and encouraged others to stand up against injustice.
And on the flip side, the people. WOW… the people. They were amazing! I can personally say that so many of the great people who showed up to support us, or to buy some lemonade have inspired me to continue what I am doing. And I am sure that many of the other activists involved are just as inspired as I am.
I would like to send a personal message to everyone who attended. Whether you there as an activist, a supporter, or just buying some lemonade. Thank you! You are all amazing human beings! You should all be very proud of yourselves. I love you all! Thank you!
Lemonade Freedom Day 2013 was a COMPLETE success!