A 65-year-old Arizona woman has been banned from doing cartwheels during public meetings.
Diane “DD” Barker recently performed several gymnastic stunts during a Maricopa Association of Governments meeting. Although Barker claims she was simply trying to make a point, county officials were not amused.
Barker said the performance was designed to highlight the benefits of an active lifestyle. To stay fit, the 65-year-old woman maintains an exercise routine and travels by bicycle. If she needs to travel a longer distance, she relies on public transportation.
As a self-proclaimed activist, Barker is concerned about air quality and the environment. She is also an outspoken supporter of increased public transportation.
As reported by America Now News, Barker was scheduled to discuss these issues during the meeting. However, while she waited her turn, she decided to do a cartwheel. County officials responded with harsh warning. The 65-year-old woman is now banned from doing cartwheels at all public meetings.
The officials’ demands were outlined in a written notice:
“Public bodies may impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speakers and the request that you not perform cartwheels is a reasonable and permitted restriction… Not following the rules may result in the Chair revoking your request to speak at the meeting.”
County officials said the cartwheels are potentially dangerous for Barker and those around her. Although they have asked her to stop numerous times, she refused to comply.
Barker said she performs her gymnastics at a safe distance from others. She also offered to sign a liability waiver. However, officials are unwilling to take the risk. As reported by Time, Barker said county officials are violating her rights of expression:
“… intimidating, threatening, and defaming… No longer could I freely speak/express in such positive conviction, my continuing commitment, and unwavering support for MAG’s transportation/air quality duty and directives!”
The 65-year-old woman said she is “disappointed” that her cartwheels were banned. Although she does not agree with the decision, she plans to comply with the request.
As a former Ohio State cheerleader, Barker has worked hard to maintain her health and physique. By performing gymnastics, she has an opportunity to share her achievements with others. She also hoped the performance would bring attention to causes, which may improve the overall health of the community.
Barker has no intention of giving up her campaign. However, as the county has banned her cartwheels, she may be forced to use a more conventional approach.
[Images via Shutterstock and America Now News]