….was the message as 1240 people were arrested this past week (April 11-15, 2016) in Washington, D.C., in the largest act of civil disobedience since the Vietnam protests.
ELDERS STANDING FOR DEMOCRACY SPRING was exhilarating. It was April 12th, the second day of “sit-ins” and civil disobedience. As Elders we took a stand to say that we care. We care about our country, our children — our future. And as elders we know that the “our” is not an individual but a collective “our,” recognizing the interconnected web of all life.
I spent five days in Washington, as part of the Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening campaigns, marching, chanting, talking, singing and getting arrested twice. The energy, power and spirit of the thousands of people was palpable – demanding Congressional reforms to get Big Money out of the political process and restore voting rights. Money OUT — Voters IN!
I was inspired by the words of Sandra Steingraber who said, “I love my children more than those corporate types love their money.”
And, by Jim Hightower who invited us to “stop wringing our hands and join hands!”, and admonished that “those who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”
I felt a sincere THANK YOU…
…to all who showed up.
…to the kind younger folks who marched with us, carrying folding chairs for the elders to “sit-in.”…to the Capitol Police who offered us their hand as we were arrested and needed to get up from the ground, brought the same folding chairs to our “holding area” while we waited to be processed, and offered us bottles of water. (They claimed that we as taxpayers have paid for them to do their jobs.)
What an opportunity we have as a growing population of elders! Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 today, and about 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 19 years! We can be a force to be reckoned with. We can use the strength of our numbers, and our natural caring and concern, to create a better future for all… all humans, all of life. We have enormous resources, wisdom, and that strong inner voice that asks, “What will your legacy be?”
What’s next? What do we do with this exquisite energy that we created together?
Is it time for an ELDER ACTIVISTS MOVEMENT? Is this the moment for us to come together to stand as elders – to speak truth to power, to serve as wisdom-keepers, to speak for future generations? I am not sure how much “wisdom” I have – but if not now, then when?
I’ll be exploring this vision in the next few months — and, I invite you to be a part of this visioning. Imagine for yourself what it is like to come together, to work together, to dream together. Not as a movement that is separate from younger folks, but with them; supporting each other and sharing our ideas, visions and passions – as we co-create the future. If you are inspired to join in this, please let me know!
My dear teacher, Joanna Macy, defines Active Hope as “identifying the outcomes that we hope for and then playing an active role in bringing them about. We don’t wait until we are sure of success. We don’t limit our choices to the outcomes that seem likely. Instead we focus on what we truly, deeply long for, and then we proceed to take determined steps in that direction.” (J. Macy and C. Johnstone, Active Hope)
Deep in your heart, what is it that you truly, deeply long for? Let’s share our dreams. Let’s march together, sing and raise our voices. All this is necessary – so that we too may be called “Ancestor” by future generations.