I expected that there would be many passionate elders present since I had spoken with dozens over the past few months and listened to their stories – including that of my friend Chris who said, “I want my vote to count the same as every other vote, not less than those with lots of money.”
“Not Dead Yet”
Many elders marched with pictures of their grandchildren. One wrote, “I’m doing this for LOVE.” Dana Kelly was holding a sign that read. "I'm not dead yet. I care deeply. I vote." "All this happened on my watch," Kelley said when asked why she made the trip. "I'm thinking about my children and what kind of world I'm going to leave them."
I expected the elders who gathered to be smart and caring -- but what really impressed me was the younger folks who organized this campaign.
What brings me hope are the organizers, the processes and the principles of this campaign.
A trio of young women took the stage, at the beginning of our rally, to provide a few moments of centering in our bodies and our spirits -- encouraging us to stay in touch with ourselves, and care for ourselves. This is NOT standard operating procedure for protests that I have participated in previously.
The Principles of Unity wove together the spirit of the collaborating organizations and individuals. We were non-partisan – and urged to NOT wear t-shirts or buttons promoting any of the presidential candidates. This campaign focused on an important issue that goes beyond partisan politics.
This protest was designed to pull of us together – understanding that we are stronger together, caring for each other, than when we are divided.
This was a message that was repeated many times – by those gathering on ELDER day, and again the next day for Racial Justice Day – where it was emphasized that we are one united family – while acknowledging that there are many difficult and unfair issues that can be used to divide us and have us compete for scarce resources.
It might not always feel that we are one family – or, that we are united. But that is the importance of a vision – to set in our minds, hearts and spirits what we most desire and to then act upon that vision.
This campaign – Democracy Spring – put forth that vision and that hope.
We are Interconnected
We are interconnected whether we act that way, or feel that way. We have this moment to embrace our hope for the world, to set our vision and move towards a world in which we feel our unity more than our differences, and, where we can acknowledge our love and caring for all with whom we share this precious world.