Friday, January 20, 2017

Five on Friday: Don't Mourn, Organize

After the election I did mourn.Truly.

Eternal optimist that I am, I kept focusing on the positive where I could find it. Collaborating. Planning. Staying involved.

And held on to the deepest, tiniest, most secret little hope that if I just kept my cool, the lid was going to blow off of this whole thing before January 20th ever got here. We'd be saying, "See? There was nothing to worry about at all!"

But the reasons to worry have only gotten worse and this thing is really happening today, isn't it?

I started to mourn again but then remembered this poster a friend and fellow community organizer brought to my Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday;

A little crying does provide a good cathartic release, but not much else.

So then it's time to look around at all the organizing happening around me, some that I'm directly responsible for, some that I'm just witnessing and supporting. 

1. The 14th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Community Service . . . which started out in my dining room and is now getting too big for the Community Center we've been using . . . was another tremendous* success. Money, time and goods were donated. Thirteen non-profit agencies and thus hundreds of people will benefit. I am so proud of this event and so thankful for everyone who helps make it possible. (Also I decided to politicize the day for the first time by offering free "Black Lives Matter" screenprinting for shirts and posters. I was worried about backlash and very gladly didn't get any.) 

2. My social justice theatre troupe, The Meta Theatre Company, has been growing and collaborating so much. We're doing a lot of new and exciting things that I'm really proud of, like helping audiences with bystander intervention training. Ever witness something really racist happen and do nothing? Or do something but wish you handled it different? We're acting out real-life scenarios, discussing the results with the audience, getting their suggestions and even putting them into the scene to try it out. What's been really interesting to me is the plans that sound okay when you talk about them but then fail when they're acted out. Which leads me to believe that our model is very valuable and that we all need to practice, practice, practice so that when we're put on the spot we've got a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips with which to respond. 

3.  My oldest daughter, age 16, figured out a Mom-approved last minute plan to get to Washington, DC to march this weekend. She also painted an amazing sign to bring with her.

4.  MLK Day is over but the organizing is not. Now it's time to really start planning the One Billion Rising poster contest and flash mob!

5. My mother used to tell me when I was growing up that I was a "leader" . . .  I didn't really know what she meant by that, to tell you the truth. But right now, in this time, when friends and acquaintances are supporting my events and reaching out to me and asking what they can do to be more political active, I am happy for that characteristic. (Thanks Mom)

* Screw it. I'm reclaiming all the words I want to reclaim from he who must not be named.

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