a story we’re disappointed and saddened to share | “Canvassing while Black”


This is from an email we received this morning. An email from Dr. Amanda Kemp; we’re on her listserve.

“This morning I planned to send you a last minute invitation to our Stop the Hurt 5 Day Challenge which starts today at 9am.

“But here’s what happened yesterday, and I got to tell you.

“There is nothing like the sting of feeling intimidated and assaulted.

I’ve canvassed for Congressional candidate Jess King in Lancaster County for a good two or three months.

I’ve knocked on doors with my friend Rae who is Black, with my European American husband and a few other European American volunteers.

I’ve always had to take a breath and get over my fear of knocking in predominantly white neighborhoods.

More often than not, we’d leave literature.

Sometimes we’d get to talk to people.

I loved saying, “Hi, I’m Amanda and we’re volunteering with Manheim Township Stands Up to talk with our neighbors about …”

(Can you tell I’m an extrovert?)

People who’d speak with us were generally in agreement about the sad state of affairs.

We’d discuss Jess King or Dana Hamp Gulick (a working mom who lives in my area) as grassroots candidates doing good.

Give some literature. Remind to vote. Thanks for the time.

Walk away.

On to the next.

This pattern got disrupted yesterday.

A woman in a gated community aggressively challenged and chased me and my husband.

We got as far as her driveway.

She told us that we did not belong there.

Told us she hated our candidate.

We left.

She followed us onto the street.

Told us again that we did not belong.

Took our picture.

Called the police.

I told my husband to take her pic.

I told her this was America.

We drove away.

All in what was probably less than 5 minutes.

We stopped for coffee; spoke to the campaign volunteers and staff; and decided to go home.

This is where the story goes off the rails ….

About five minutes after we got home, the police rolled up to our house.

Yes, they tracked us down.

I refused to talk with the police and told my husband I was going to my office.

My husband made a statement. The Jess King campaign manager came to the house and

spoke with the police as well.

Here’s what I want you to think about.

What kind of privilege is working to have the police track us down and come to our home?

What would the police do if I called to say we were harassed and felt in danger for our lives by this European American woman?

What if my husband were Black?

What if you knew she had your picture and perhaps your address?

What if you had her name and address?



    • Perhaps, but someone has to grant access to a gated enclave. I really doubt the canvassers climbed the fence. Or cut through.

      We once made a mistake of living in a gated community; never could quite grasp whether gated places are to keep folks in or out. Don’t have good recollections of living inside the wire … except in Viet Nam.

  1. Welcome to 21st century America. What that woman did shows what happens when the president of the United states spews hatred nearly every time he opens his mouth. President Trump tells us proudly that he is a nationalist. I recommend that all of you who read this find the following essay and read it and share it widely:

    “Notes on Nationalism” is an essay completed in May 1945 by George Orwell(Author of the book “1984”) and published for the first time in October 1945. If you go to Wikipedia, you will find a very good review of the essay.

    I’m so sorry that a fellow American did these nasty things to you. We must get out the vote to defeat those that think this way.

  2. So here’s another report on the incident: It’s a political thing. The woman who called the police is is a member of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County and has been campaigning for Lloyd Smucker.

    Interesting that the Manheim Township Police Department “confirmed they were called but said there is no investigation and that, ‘no criminal event was found to have occurred.’”


    Is this because racism is being “normalized?”


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