Well, in this day and age of I has been busy, there has been so much news that has spilled over the edge. It’s hard to keep up, so I’ll start here.
March 24, 2018 – March For Our Lives
“What [injustice] would move you enough to get you to march?” I was asked this at book club years ago during the George W. Bush Administration and although I was outraged at much going on at the time, I was hard-pressed to think of anything I felt so strongly about that I would put my feet in the street.
Well, fast forward less than 20 years and here we are! February 14, 2018, Nicholas Cruz, a lone gunman entered the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 students, wounded 17 more, and sparked a movement.
So I marched.
My sign, Ann’s sign¹:
And while I’m reassured that the Stoneman Douglas students who SURVIVED a mass-shooting are kicking it — putting walk to the talk, engaging parents, veterans, and gun owners, including people of color marginalized in discussion of gun violence, the all of it — this time is different.
And it hit me. The survivors of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting look like the younger brothers and sisters of the Stoneman Douglas high school students because age relative, THEY ARE! Five years after Sandy Hook, the six- and seven-year-olds are eleven and twelve.
Already through a mass-shooting once, they are not even in high school. Ugh.
Boom. There it is. Gun control. March For Our Lives has put my feet in the street.
March 28, 2018 – MFOL: #50MilesMore
At noon on Wednesday, March 28, Traxler Park, Janesville, WI there was a meet-and-greet rally for the group of students who extended March For Our Lives by 50 miles and marched from Madison, Wisconsin to Janesville, Wisconsin — hometown of Paul Ryan.
The student speakers were impressive. Recounting their 50-mile walk, I expect #50milesmore was a formative experience. It will be a jumping off point in their lives to bigger things.
So today I restrict my comments to the speech by Pardeep Singh Kaleka. Mr. Kaleka’s father was killed in the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012. As his father died on the floor, he prayed. But his father didn’t pray for himself.
His ‘thoughts and prayers’ were for the living. For those that remain. And here I am. Thoughts and prayers put my feet on the street.
Finally, from Mr. Kaleka: react in peace.
React in peace. Not rest. React.
React in peace.
I can get behind that.
Live in a spirit of relentless optimism. Here is video of Pardeep Singh Kaleka relating the story of his father’s last words at the TEDxMilwaukee. (Video starts at 15:00 although the whole is IMO, worth the watch):
¹ Our signs were lettered, colored, and the AK-15s drawn freehand by a professional to whom we say ‘thank you’!