My name is Elizabeth Book. As some of you may know I am an activist who is fighting to give women the right to be topfree where ever men may be topfree. Recently, I staged my third protest for Topfreedom on July 2nd, in Daytona Beach, Florida.
I strongly considered my actions before going into it. The officials of the city of Daytona had already shown, through previous arrests and harassment, that they do not honor the constitution of the United States. (Especially, our rights to peacefully assemble and to free speech). They have also shown that they do not even honor their own written word. As was proven when they violated our Memorandum Of Understanding for my March 13th, 2005 protest. Five peaceful protestors were arrested, harassed, and cited during that event. Which was in total disregard for the Understanding.
I have always been a firm believer that the stronger the voice the greater the stand, the better we will be heard. But unfortunately for me my father died three days before the protest and I had just spent a week in New York trying to make his final days happy and peaceful. Because of my absence at this crucial time, I was unable to ask for any support. Also, I felt somewhat uncomfortable putting my friends and compatriots in the line of fire again without a Federal Injunction to protect us. I decided that because I had been forced to stand alone once before, (Homeland Security forced me onto a bridge alone in the midst of a protest and arrested me.) that I was well suited to do it again. I strongly believe the Constitution of The United States was standing right beside me.
To my amazement a friend of mine stepped up to also stand beside me. His name is Glenn Rosberg. Glenn lost his leg in Vietnam when he was 19. He has only recently begun to use his wheelchair due to the deterioration of his spine from wearing a prostetic limb for years. It was an extreme physical hardship for him to be there and I was honored to have him with me.
The protest occurred before 4 topfree and nude statues in front of Daytona Beach’s Peabody Auditorium. My point, “In stone they are considered art. Yet in the flesh they are criminal.” I also made sure the image of the Virginia state flag was present on some of my protest signs. They call the topless warrior on the flag, Virtue. You see, at one time our forefathers saw our breasts as a symbol of strength and courage. Now they are seen as a means of our subjugation and inequality. They have actually become criminal elements of our bodies. The officials of Daytona Beach have found a way to attack us for them and increase their city coffers, as well. I was once told by the city clerk of Daytona that the reason the fines for breast exposure had increased so dramatically in such a short period (from $50 to $250 in a matter of ten years), was because it had to increase with the cost of living. I found that very strange since our minimum wage hadn’t risen in 7 years.
Back to my most recent protest. I was being interviewed (topfree) by a reporter from the Daytona news Journal, Ihuoma Ezeh, as a barrage of police vehicles and police descended on me and my friend Glenn. Ihuoma had her back to their approach and did not see what was coming. I had written in small print on my protest sign the definition of courage. “Courage is the ability to overcome fear”. I read it out loud to her and raised my chin as they stormed in on us. As I glanced at my friend Glenn, I saw the sweat pouring off his brow and understood the great effort it took for him to be there. I thought, "Oh ,no! He"s counting on me to get him back to his car and to help load his wheelchair in". Within seconds the protest sign I held was ripped from my hands and I was handcuffed from behind and covered with a hospital gown. Thank goodness, the reporter and the photgrapher from the news journal were there to help my friend. It was one of my biggest concerns.
One question I heard the reporter yell as I was brutally forced to the waiting police car was, “What about the children?” Did they mean the children who are constantly barraged with images of the dead and dying on the nightly news? The very same children who will soon be asked to bear arms for their country and Constitution (male and female)? Please ask yourself, “Just how will these children be harmed by the sight of a female breast?” Then too, one of the most impactful questions I have received is what about sex offenders? Simple, if you would do away with sexual offenses in your society then you must increase the penalties these fiends must pay for their crimes. Think Castration! I was instrumental in convicting a serial pediphile rapist before the Grand Jury in Florida in 2000. (George Capaldo). Thanks to the Jimmy Rice Law he will never harm another child again.
The sole biological function of the female breast is to nurture our young. I challenge you to find them in any medical encyclopedias listed as sexual organs. They are glands and not organs. By removing the threat of persecution and harassment from our breasts the American children will benefit in the best nourishment nature can provide for them. If you want a healthier and smarter nation, try breast milk.
I have been charged with a second degree misdemeanor of Disorderly Conduct. So essentially, the city of Daytona Beach, in their efforts to supercede the authority of the United States Constitution, has made our rights to peaceful protest and free speech (You couldn’t get more peaceful than a stay at home mother and a wounded war hero in a wheelchair) a CRIME.
I feel I have grown and learned so much in the past two years that I have been making this stand to free our breasts. Decriminalization of all American Women’s breasts is my goal. But my fight has become so much more, as a fight to preserve our Constitutional rights.
I am not wealthy. I am not young. I am not beautiful. I AM AN AMERICAN WOMAN AND PATRIOT! I’m still scared shirtless, but I refuse to stand down. “Courage is the ability to overcome fear.” I will keep you abreast of my future endeavors. Thankfully, my attorney, Lawrence Walters our of Orlando, has let me know that he and his firm will stand beside me as far as we need to go with this.
"If you know your convictions are true Stand up for what you believe in, no matter the opposition or the consequences."