Week 11- The Future is Female - Renewal, Revive, Rejuvenate
I normally write my entries on Friday evenings, but this week was different. We were gifted a surprise last-minute opportunity to join two busloads of teenagers to March for Our Lives in Washington DC.
Lucy’s feet hurt before we started to delve into putting all the pieces in order to make this adventure happen. Our dog sitting friends were not able to help us on a ‘right now’ call. So, after making a whole lot of phone calls and being creative with our ideas getting our ducks in a row, we decided to skip 16 hours on a bus and opt for a more local event. Violet, my 11 year old with a predisposition to being contentedly alone, the one who is not crazy about big crowds or loud noises was not having it. Her usual ability to go with the flow was out the window and she pitched a fit - like literally a FIT! Screaming and yelling about how she HAD to go to Washington DC! She HAD to participate with the people speaking up against gun violence in our capital and be a part of the change the world needs. While Chris and I were listening, we were concerned that if one of us took Violet while the other stayed home with dogs and Lucy, Violet might have a really hard time in the huge crowds predicted for the event. The anxiety she exhibits might become overwhelming and things might really not be ok. We talked to her about how it would be. About the crowds and not being able to walk away from them. We talked about the long hours of marching and yelling, about the noise levels and sore feet. She was not only game, she was vehement.
So the four of us huddled around the kitchen table and painted protest signs, we packed snacks and Violet and I hopped in the car and drove 40 minutes (with signs drying on the back seat) to the gathering spot for our adventure. We got on the bus with 88 other people - mostly teenagers - and drove all night into Washington DC. The trip was well-organized by the notable Railroad Street Youth Project based in Great Barrington. A group with a more than amazing history, founded by teenagers back about 20 years ago. We marched as a clan - we got right up front and center and could see the stage easily. We got to hear the voices of so many eloquent and affected people - live and in person. Tears streamed. Hope bubbled. Unity was tangible. Violet rocked the whole day in her new converse she got from her big brother for her birthday. She wore them so she could bring him along with her.
We arrived home by 2 am having spent more than 24 hours surrounded by our future. What hope has been restored to me! What a powerful and clear-minded crew leading the way. In the biggest tragedies, there seem to be the strongest blessings. If losing so many beautiful young people to gun violence results in the change we are seeing they have not died in vain. Their friends and siblings have been empowered and are speaking up with a unified and unrelenting voice. People who have been directly affected by school shootings were joined with those living with urban gun violence whose PTSD shouldn't include the word "post" as it is never-ending. All the speakers of the day were teenagers and younger. Each shared powerful eloquent messages of their dire and clear call to end the craziness, stop the unregulated availability of weapons of mass destruction. All that power and passion and real-life experience of untimely and unwarranted great loss brought tangible unity and fellowship. Partnering the affluence of the community at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, FL with the inner city youth speaking on their daily level of fear and frequent loss brought the groups together with one clear voice for change. Governmental change - Yes Please!
Stop the silence and end gun violence.
We got up late today. Even after all the travel and the lack of sleep I am feeling revived, renewed and rejuvenated by the whole experience. We are blessed to have young visionaries speaking truth to power. Support them. Their young, fearless, eloquent and powerful voices are making the changes they are vehemently demanding. Follow them on social media and contribute in any way needed.
Hey Hey Ho Ho The NRA has got to GO!