O.K. Get up, dust yourselves, and get to work. Enough of this mopping, crying, and ‘how could this have happened’ stuff; stop watching the TV commentators tell you the whys the hows and the what-ifs; and get rid of that long face lady, you have work to do.
I didn’t roll up my sleeves, I actually rolled them down, donned on that warm and ugly quilted coat, pulled that funny looking fur cap down my ears, and stepped out into the biting cold and howling wind. My husband and I were off to the #IAMAMERICA vigil in Washington Square Park. First step post-election: Get organized. Step 2: Come together—there is strength in unity and numbers. Step 3: Speak up and speak out.
Under the arch of Washington Square Park, there we were, faith & community leaders across the spectrum, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, young and seniors (me), as we pushed against the chilling head wind, and remained standing.
Debbie Almontaser, raising her voice above the wind, called upon immigrants, Muslims, Jews, atheists, African Americans. . . “We are here to say, I am not afraid; I have your back, and you have my back.”
Yes we do!
The Rabbi called out: “I am an ancient tree…my roots are deep, my trunk is solid, my branches spread out high and strong, I have stood up to the winds and storms…let us hold each other’s branches and stand strong…” and people reached out and held their neighbor’s hands. Someone held my hand.
Let It Shine. Ain’t gonna let no hatred turn me around, holding hands, we sang. The wind pushed. We did not lose our balance.
Rev. K. Karpin had spoken—about light in our lives; the lovely Sumita, representing the Hindu community had spoken, Rev. Chloe Breyer of Interchurch Center, Omar from ICNA, Albert Kahn from CAIR, Christina Flemming from Middle Colleagiate Church. . . each expressing solidarity.
Injustice to one of us, is injustice to all of us.
Keep on walking. Keep on talking!
But go beyond talking. When we see something, let not fear be a bystander, be an upstander. Talk to the victim who is being verbally abused, stand by him or her, comfort the person, and the perpetrator is likely to desist. This will always be a city where people can practice their faith.
Can internment happen?
This is New York. We will not let this happen. Our city is more resilient than ever, no matter what, and no matter who.
Down by the river side, arm in arm we sang. The wind pushed, we swayed. We did not lose our balance.
And then a message from our Mayor—brought to us by Sarah Sayeed—a pledge to work on our behalf, and a promise to investigate all violations of human rights.
I: I am very diverse
AM: I am here, present, now.
AMERICA: A democracy – where we can raise our voice.
I was left with Christina Flemming’s words:
Remember the moral majority. The majority is with us, the majority voted with us. We are not alone in this.