Monday, June 11, 2007
A Sunday of Promise
Sunday was a great day in the Pink House—it started with the gorgeous two-page story and photos about CodePink in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/09/AR2007060901488.html) followed by the arrival of new trainees for the Peace Surge Summer Training sessions. Mila, a new intern from Pennsylvania, drove down with her mom and a car full of supplies for the house—thanks for that, Carol! She, Libby, and Ena (our other intern) immediately hit the Peace Room to make banners for the march to End the Occupation of Palestine. I'm trying to get out the blog from the day before, frequently stopping to help the new folks find rooms, beds, sheets, and get ready for the day’s events. I’ve got these bulbs—pink lilies, begonias and caladiums to plant around the house so we’ll be in the Pink for the summer, but I just never seem to get around to planting them—Sunday is no exception.
By quarter to 2, all pinked out, we hit the streets on our way to the Capitol building for the rally. Crowds mill around the streets—it’s also Gay Pride weekend; and we follow a group of Arab-American women whom we know must be going to the rally also. Out on the lawn in front of the Capitol, the array of signs and diversity of the crowd is really heart-warming. Our “CodePink says NO to Occupation” banner glitters in the sunshine, and serves as a beacon for supporters and friends from all over—Bob and Mary from NC, whom I met yesterday at “Taming the Corporations” are there, as well as friends from United for Peace and Justice, Washington Peace Center, and all the other folks we work with. An older African American couple hold a wooden sign calling for peace in Sudan, Somalia and Chechnya on one side, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel in the other. We sign them up to our CodePink Alert sheet, and really hope to see them again. OK, the rally goes on a bit too long—we’re wilting in the humidity; a few of us take a brief sabbatical over to the Gay Pride activities, where a live band rocks out with Heart’s “Barracuda” (now there’s a song from my youth). But the hip hop boys get us dancing on the lawn before we pull out to march to the White House.
Again, the diversity and the solidarity of the group marching is inspiring—we make an effort to thank the police, who do an excellent job in preventing any possible conflicts with counter-protestors. With our banner we march for awhile behind a line of brave, somber Hasidic rabbis, several of whom hold their own banner calling for an end to violence in Israel with one hand, and the Torah in the other. One carries a sign reminding that the Torah does not call for an Israeli state.
And what kind of march would it be without music? One young man with his guitar hooked up to a rolling amp, another with a beautiful drum, and we fulfill Emma Goldman’s call for dancing at the revolution. Interspersed with peace songs we chant for an end to occupation of Palestine and Iraq. Hot and sticky though we are, it’s fabulous to see people of all creeds, ethnicities, ages and orientations walking in solidarity through our capital city. Photojournalists Nick and Eileen grab a few photos and I get a word or two with them—we agree about the frightening state of the world; but also that today is a cause for optimism.
Exhausted, hot and dirty, we return to the Pink House for a cold dinner of finger-foods and left-overs, and start our Pachamama “Awakening the Dream” training with three amazing women. We learn about the Achuar people of Ecuador who, in their dream of protecting their own way of life, also dreamt that the people of the North must also have a new dream. We learn of the damage and potential devastation to come: climate change, toxification of the Earth, the sixth great extinction that is virtually underway; the mistaken assumptions that have led us down this unsustainable path; and ways to challenge those assumptions—both personally and societally—in order to create this new dream of an “environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence”. Tears are shed, connections made (even between those of us who thought we knew each other) and commitments found to awaken this new dream—and the symposium ends with a laugh, as a pugnacious wombat with attitude tells us, “Ya gotta learn to live with it—one planet, one people. We ain’t goin’ nowhere cuz there’s nowhere else to go.” Somehow, his cockiness provides just the right lift, and we end the day feeling full of optimism for the week to come.
But tomorrow, I gotta get those damned bulbs in the ground!