Updated: Oct 30, 2020
One demonstrator said the postal service had saved his family. Another said that the service had been part of the lifeblood of her hometown. Many believe one of America’s oldest institutions is threatened, and some citizens have risen to defend it.
There were just five demonstrators outside the small postal office at 819 Reece Road demonstrating in the heat Tuesday morning, August 25. They were part of a much larger organized effort across the country by concerned citizens, organized by labor unions.
On their website, USMailnotforsale.org, organizers bill the effort as a day of action, in hopes of sustaining the postal service. In its decription the site reads:
“The US Mail Not for Sale is a worker-led campaign sponsored by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers. The campaign brings together labor unions, elected officials, member organizations of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, community supporters and the public to fight plans to sell the public Postal Service to the highest bidder.”
Over the space of several minutes, several of the vehicles passing the demonstrators on Reece Road honked their horns in apparent support. It is unclear if the demonstrators would be successful in getting those drivers to go farther. One of the demonstration slogans was to ask passers-by to contact congress.
From two megaphones the demonstrators chanted other slogans like “U.S, mail not for sale,” “Save the post office” and “Mitch McConnell bring up the bill.”
McConnell is a Republican U.S. Senator from Kentucky and the senate’s majority leader. The U.S. House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 8015 Saturday August 25. The bill seeks to sustain the postal service with $25 billion in funding as well as constrain recent changes there that have resulted in in undelivered mail and the destruction of shipping, including animals that have likely died.
McConnell called the House’s concern that President Donald Trump was defunding the postal service to hamper November elections and secure the presidency for himself. as “overblown conspiracy theories,” in a statement.
One of Tuesday’s Severn demonstrators shared some of the same concern as the House of Representatives.
“I'm just here because right now during an election year, and during a pandemic, we should not be taking away any money from the postal service,” said Clayton Northcraft, a 29-year-old furloughed bartender from Severn. “We need it so that we can vote. And I know that the reason why the Trump administration is doing this and postmaster, they're doing it for one simple reason--that is to suppress the vote.
“Because he (President Trump) knows that he's probably going to lose, and the only way that he can win is if he cheats. I guess what he's trying to kneecap the post office and, you know, next month, it'll be something else. So I'm out here to just show people that we care (and) show the post office that we're here for them. And, you know, we'll be out here is as long as we need to be.”
Northcraft ,29, said he’s been protesting all summer for multiple causes. He takes classes at Anne Arundel Community College, he said, and hopes to tart a career as a teacher.
"I've been protesting all summer in DC,” he said. “It's it's been it's been a very eventful summer. very crazy year. Never thought that I would be doing (this). I mean really, that's all the summer was for me--just with protesting and going up to demonstrations and stuff.
Michelle Baker, 41, from Glen Burnie said she felt excited to be demonstrating.
“It came to my attention that Trump was trying to stop us from voting during the pandemic,” Baker said. “And I thought that was unfair. But then I realized also that the mail has started to slow and now another issue is the rotting fruit and dead animals, and what kind of working conditions is that causing for the post office. So it's just become a huge problem. I’m just not happy about it. Trump has made me an activist.”
The organizer of the Severn demonstration was Mickey Goldberg, 68, from Severn who was there with her husband of almost 30 years along with another family member.
“I couldn't sleep at night,” she said. “ All I can think of is it doesn't matter how many people
who register (to vote), it doesn't matter how many people vote from home, the post office can't deliver the mail on time. I want to thank our postal workers. I want to let them know that we're aware of their situation.”
During the demonstration a car pulled into the office parking lot. The woman who got out identified herself as a mail carrier and thanked Goldberg for her support. Goldberg thanked the woman in return and handed her a greeting card envelope.
Randall Goldberg, Mickey’s husband said his mother, Marion Sylvester, who died last year had been a postal worker for 23 years. Randall, now 70, is a retired nurse who worked at the Poison Control Center taking calls.
"This is my post office that they want to shut down or privatize,” he said. “ My mom was a postal worker. She got her job around 1964. The post office saved my family. In those days there were no sorting machines. She had to memorize every single street in San Diego County (California), and what zip code it was. She had to do something like 95% on a test on that. So I would do flashcards with her. Trying, you know, (to) get her into the post office. She had a good career there. Her pension supported her until she was 92 years old.”
Ceece Nucker said she is originally from Minot, North Dakota where she lived for 26 years. She is Mickey’s sister. She had come to Maryland to take care of their mother and now resides in Odenton, she said.
Nucker said that in the Midwestern United States, the postal service was a vital part of life. Post offices were few and far between, and the job of mail carriers could even be a matter of life and death.
“It's the lifeblood out in the Midwest,” she said. “It's vital. I'm not just here to support voting. I'm here to support the lifeblood of the country. Out there the postman checks on the elderly. They don't just deliver mail, they make sure that people in the farms are still alive.”
A postal worker working at the counter inside the Severn office was aware of the demonstrators outside and observed to a customer that in 36 years of postal work he had never encountered such a situation.