Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dancing in 100 Degrees

First of many posts about the General Assembly in Phoenix and the UUA Board meetings before and after

As our bus pulls up to the vigil site, we see hundreds of marchers slowly walking from the buses that left before ours, carrying (LED) candles.   We can't hear the counter demonstrators because everyone on our bus is singing

when I breath in... I breath in peace.
when I breath out... I breath out love.

We wait what seems like a long time before the buses in front of us clear.  There are what appear to be dozens of dark-uniformed police officers, and khaki clad sheriff's deputies, standing apart.  We are dazzled by the hundreds of candle lights, glowing orange in the night, moving with the crowd. 

when I breath in... I breath in peace.
when I breath out... I breath out love. 

Our bus pulls in and we step out, taking our own candles.  Our route is lined with blue-shirted Witness Team members, making a gentle container for us as we walk to the vigil site.  There are dozens of them too.  I do not see or hear the counter-protesters, though I know they are there.  I see only us.  And then I start to see more of us, the families of our partners, by the side of the route, holding signs:  "Shut down Tent City" say the signs, "thank you, gracias, thank you for coming" say the people.  "Gracias a ustedes", we answer, "thank you to you". 

We are packed together, chanting in Spanish, singing in English and Spanish, cheering the partners who have clearly spoken at many other rallies.  The voices of our own President, Peter Morales and that of Geoffrey Black, head of the United Church of Christ, mingle in the heat and energy.  A Baptist minister steps to the microphone and brings us even higher, calling us to what we are witnessing. Behind us, more buses come, more lights extending back as far as we can see.  

And on the right, Tent City.  They cannot see us, but they can hear us.  ¡Estamos aqui!  we shout.  ¡Libertad!  Shut it down!  Shut it down!  Orange candles sway back and forth.  We who believe in freedom cannot rest, we sing.  Cold bottles of water are passed among the crowd.  Make way on the left for the scooters!, someone cries.  Stay away from the barbed wire on the left!.  More singing, chanting, speaking, the voices hoarse from trying to be loud enough to be heard by those in back.  We are dancing, holding arms, swaying..  we are dancing in the light of God...  some say love, some say God, is there a difference? 

The crowd begins to thin.  

We are a gentle angry people
and we are singing, singing for our lives...

I check the time:  11:01.  I check the temperature:  100.  We make our way slowly back to the buses.  The young woman with me thanks the Phoenix police as we walk by.  And still there, lining the walk, are the families of our partners, saying "thank you.  Gracias.  Thank you for coming." 

We're gonna keep on movin' forward...
keep on movin' forward...
keep on movin' forward...
Never turning back,
Sin volver atrĂ¥s.  

1 comment:

John Blevins said...

Beautiful Linda. Thank you. I'm glad I could be there with you, even though I never saw you in the huge, wonderful, crowd.