|Candles for each of the victims in Connecticut and Clackamas and their families|
Hands Around Our Schools' Event Portland, Oregon
December 17th, 2012After crying many tears last Friday morning, I knew that I had to do more than cry, and more than hug my children tighter, this was the time to act. I took to email, and started with 200 people in my address book. Dozens of people responded immediately, all throughout the day. Then Facebook. And before I knew it, we had a community of people, ready to take action. I had no idea what would come of the communications when this started, but within hours, a plan of action took shape.
At SunnysideI couldn't have imagined anything better than what happened that night. With the weather threatening to rain/sleet/snow, we didn't know if we could pull it off. But as if on cue, the clouds parted and people began to stroll up, slowly at first...would we be 10, 20, 40 strong? And within minutes, candles were lit, carried into the center of a circle. People gathered around the candles and our circle grew. Local musicians, Johnny Keener and Mo Phillips, played us through our transitions. I looked around and saw babies, teachers, parents, students, siblings, neighbors, people who were just riding by on their bikes who decided to see what was up. We came together, in the wake of great tragedy, of unfathomable sadness for the heart-broken families and communities of Newtown, CT and Clackamas, OR. We all had our reasons for being there. We held hands, we took a moment to send healing thoughts to those around the world, and to the heart-broken families and community of Newtown, CT. We each met someone we didn't know before we arrived there, and we shared why we were there. We attempted a "wave" around the circle, and a game of "telephone" by passing around wishes for the world, we listened to a beautiful poem by Kim Stafford, sang John Lennon's "Imagine", and stomped in time, and sang "We're not gonna take it! No, we ain't gonna take it! We're not gonna take it, anymore!"
Slowly, the circle broke up. In the end, we were about 80 strong. 80 people held hands and committed to those in the circle, the idea that change needs to happen.
Nothing was solved tonight. But I looked around and saw 79 others who feel like I do, and I walked away from the circle feeling hopeful. As the last electrical cords were wound up, and the tent was dismantled, I felt the first drop of rain hit my face.
Life is good. People are good. Now let's get to work. Please stay connected.