Urban Camping & "What Happened"
The excitement around Hillary's new book What Happened was growing long before it's release date, Tuesday, September 12, 2017. Pages were leaking to social media, and people were already expressing their opinions, some negative, but mostly enthusiastic. The Brigade was very much the latter.
Hillary scheduled a book signing event for the public at Barnes and Noble in Union Square, NYC, at 11 a.m. for the day of the release. Inevitably, this event attracted every single news outlet, fanfare from her supporters, and a line that snaked around the Manhattan city-block.
Speaking of fanfare, members of the Hillary Clinton Brigade decided to do 'urban camping' outside of Barnes and Noble beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 11. We wanted to not only be among the first people to speak with Hillary on her big day, but we wanted her to know how dedicated we are to her and this journey she is on following the election.
I arrived to Barnes & Noble around 7 p.m. I saw an already forming line of excited Hillary supporters. I was #6, behind Corinne Pina, and behind me joined Aurora, who would be #7, and so on. I spread out a blanket and a couple of supplies for the long night ahead. It was still light out, but the two beams of light from the September 11th Memorial were visible in the sky. It was a kind, and humbling presence that stayed with us all night long and into the sunrise.
Allan from NowThis arrived and interviewed various people in the line, including me! It was fun to talk about Hillary, and why urban camping was so worth it to see Hillary. He talked to Corinne about her experience during 9/11, and even made a second follow-up video about her. We were both interviewed again the following day and appeared in their video that Hillary shared, and has reached over 1.9 MILLION views!
Around 10:30 p.m. members from Hillary's staff arrived with pizza's. They said, "These pizza's are from the Secretary." Wait, come again...! Hillary sent us pizza? They said, "Yes! We sent her a photo of you guys camping out."*
When I eventually had my opportunity to speak with Hillary, I thanked her for the pizza. She replied in a booming laugh, "I was worried about you guys!" I thought, "MOM!" But held my tongue.
Once 7 a.m. came around, the sun was up and news reporters and camera crews were scattered all around. I spoke with a woman from the Guardian for a while. They were mostly interested in our group who did the urban camping and had the Hillary pizza. Once the staff from Barnes & Noble gave us the run-down, it was finally time to purchase the book, and get our wristbands. I also had to get myself together and prepare for meeting Hillary for the first time. I had spent 2016 working closely with supporters, volunteering at Hillary's headquarters in Brooklyn and Manhattan (where I met and photographed Carole King), and of course I have photographed Hillary many times...but I have never had this very special opportunity. I am deeply grateful she chose to hold this event in New York City, and included all of us.
A little over a week later, and I am nearly at the end of the book. I am savoring every single word, taking moments to reflect and remember, and giving myself a chance to grieve what happened. Moving forward, The Brigade will visit Hillary in Chappaqua, NY and Brooklyn at two additional book signing events. Stay tuned for more.