What a week, what a year! We are so divided yet it is heartening to see so many people coming together – despite the summer-waning pandemic. Yesterday I joined my first march ever. Not congratulating myself since it conveniently went along close to my house and I could only join a little while. I get heat exhaustion too easily, which also prevented me from voting last week as my new voting place (thanks to too few volunteers) required me to stand in line in the hot sun. I sat in the car and watched the line not move for a while, then just drove home disappointed. But what an experience this march was!
Since I live in a small suburb where residents are generally well off and mostly white, I thought the march, organized by the very few black teachers at our schools, would not have many people. I was wrong! Thousands filled the road, mostly white families with kids of all ages, plus groups of teens, and even plenty of older folks. I think they came from nearby suburbs, too. Others lined the roadsides with signs and some offered water. Most people wore masks on this hot day, including me, and I was able to social distance by walking on the outer edge of the crowd. At various crowd sections, someone or two would start a chant or a call and response. “Say his name!” “George Floyd!” “What’s her name?” “Breonna Taylor!” The experience of people of all ages and genders, black and white, joining together to march for change was so powerful and heart-warming that tears came to my eyes, even as I write about it.
Some people think the marches are ridiculous and aggravating, and some seem to think all protestors are destructive. This marching started off later and was way bigger than police had expected and informed businesses about. One business was subjected to someone calling in and screaming obscenities on and on, angered by the marching and that they were unable to get to their pickup order. The workers had not been able to reach the person to give a later time and were left in tears by the abuse.
No matter what your views and experiences are, this is history and you are a witness. Between COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter and whatever else controversial goes on this crazy year, think about writing. If you have stories of your own experiences, those are important to capture for history, to help others understand, and for your curious future family generations at least. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write a poem. Powerful writing comes from fear, pain, and frustration. Maybe you just have thoughts about things as an observer sitting back and watching the unfolding—write an essay. Have your opinions changed any along the way? Mine have.
Be safe out there, and think of how you can make a difference, large or small, for the better of all.