Give light and People will Find the Way.

“On Friday we wept, on Saturday we marched, on Sunday we rested. Today we get to work. What will you do today?” – Valerie Kaur

I live in the very, very Southwest corner of Florida. Not near Miami, or Orlando, or Tampa, where you might find some blue dots in our red state. No. I live where it is not weird at all to see a dude driving his pickup around a parking lot with a shirtless dude in back waving a flag larger than my garage that says “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.” Totally normal. Totally happened in my local Ace Hardware parking lot.

Because of this lack of blue dots in a very, very red area of the state, I almost didn’t attend my nearest sister march for the women’s march. I was certain that it was going to be me and the usual twenty aging white hippies who usually show up at these things.

Illustration based on a photo posted on Facebook by the baby’s mom Jenny Sowry. This is #wokebaby. Marched in Charlotte, NC on Saturday with her crayon-scribbled sign. Can you handle the cuteness? (Follow my instagram @100daysofhope for daily art like this.)
I WAS WRONG.

As I approached the march location there was a fair amount of traffic. There were tons and tons of cars parked on lawns illegally. There was no way this was because of the march, I thought. Not in this long-established republican stronghold where the last democrat to win the county was Adlaid Stevenson II in 1952.  (Source: Wikipedia.)

It turns out the crowd, the traffic, it was in fact all for the march.The organizers expected 300: At least 2,500 people showed up.  

YES, that is right. Over two-thousand people in our sleepy little vacation town showed up to march. Thousands of people marched and chanted past the tony vacation homes and high-end boutiques. The retirees in sports cars gawked. The passer-bys on their way to brunch bristled.

It. Was. Amazing. 

There were elderly marchers being pushed in wheelchairs, young marchers being pulled in wagons. Families, singletons, teens, twenty-somethings. Men! Women! And yes, a lot of white sixty-something women. But not just the aging hippy-sisters-who-paved-the-way oh-so long ago. We couldn’t have been here without them, but we need more than just them to move forward.

The best part was that the tone of the crowd wasn’t angry (though we were angry, yes); it wasn’t sad, or defeated or gloom and doom. No, it was…joyful. Jubilant even. It was downright spiritual: we were transmuting our pain with art, with dancing, with music. And levity! (The signs were hilarious, no?)

(And in case you missed it, the baby marcher with her crayoned-protest-sign. THIS. This is what we need.)

Let’s keep doing it. Let’s keep showing up for each other. Let’s keep giving light so others will find the way. And let’s do it with much rejoicing.

Did you march, sisters? (And brothers!) Tell me your stories! 

3/100

What will you make with your broken heart?

“Take your broken heart, make it into art.” -Carrie Fisher

1/100

My pledge: to shine a light in the darkness

I’m excited to announce that starting today I’ll be posting daily for the first 100 days of the Trump presidency with a new project I am calling “#100daysofhope.” I decided to embark on this creative project as a way to shine a light in darkness, at a time of deep division, fear, and turmoil in our country.

And as fate would have it, I received an email several days ago with a template that allowed me to fully articulate this goal (see below, and template available here.)

Most of my posts will be on instagram at 100daysofhope, and I invite you to follow along there!  On the blog, all posts related to the project can be found under the tag “#100daysofhope” or at https://mourningdovemotherhood.com/category/100daysofhope/.

What do you pledge? What do you believe in and what do you hope to dream into being for our democracy in these coming weeks and years? How can you share your own gifts? 

 

 

 

 

America’s Latest Mass Shooting was Local—and I Refuse to Stay Numb

This morning I found myself standing in a strip mall less than a mile away from where I used to live, a dozen roses in my hand and more than two dozen reporters in my face.

I was standing at the site of America’s latest mass shooting.

A reporter asked me was why I was there.

I’d thought about this as I purchased a bouquet of small yellow roses at my local Winn-Dixie this morning. (What types of flowers are suitable to leave at memorials for mass shootings? I wondered. This is now a question we have to ask ourselves in America.)

I’d thought about gun violence as I made the twenty-three minute drive north from my home, driving past my church that only five short weeks ago had hosted a vigil for the Orlando mass shooting victims. I’d thought about gun violence as I exited the highway, one sign pointing toward Fort Myers (this way to the latest mass shooting site) and another pointing toward Lehigh Acres/FL-844 (this way to the home of the fourteen year old basketball star killed in aforementioned mass shooting.)

I’d thought about gun violence as I turned onto Winkler Avenue–now only two miles from the mass shooting site–and drove past the apartment complex that my husband, daughter and I lived in when first relocating to Fort Myers. The home where I nursed my baby to asleep located at the same intersection where a teen girl would be killed a few months after we moved out. (So many memorials to gun violence now within this mile radius.)

The reporters asked me today, why are you here at the site of the mass shooting.

If any of my interviews make the evening news you might hear me say that I was there to offer my condolences and to join my pastor in prayer (whom I’d just missed seeing at the scene). Or you might hear a clip that makes me sound angry and political (both of which are true), as I declared loudly, “When will this madness end?” Perhaps a reporter will focus on the fact that I am a mother who used to live less than a mile away and that I pray for my child and all these children. Or you might hear the reporter ask me about my small yellow sign said (it says LOVE WINS) as I explained how we can’t let fear and anger rule our hearts, and that we must show up for our children and fight for change.

All of those answers are true. But the truth is that I came to the site of this latest mass shooting because when twelve year old children at a dance party — with armed guards present, nonetheless — are killed and injured, we should all show up to grieve and mourn and rage, because there is no such thing as “Other People’s Children.” 

Even if this latest killing rampage was due to gang violence and not terrorism — as though that somehow lets us off the hook, or should somehow reassure us that this could never happen to our children (but what of the children who do live among this violence?) — this does not matter.

The reporters asked why I was there:

Because I refuse to stay numb.

Because I believe broken hearts are a good thing. (Five short weeks ago I attended a vigil for Orlando victims and it broke my heart. I do not want a heart that is no longer shocked by the horror of a mass shooting.)

Because I refuse to remain silent.

Because I am tired of this madness.

Because even though I know that gun violence is not solved with vigils and flowers, the process just might begin with open, broken hearts that refuse to accept violence as ordinary reality in America.


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