Yesterday, this was going to be a whole different blog. I was ready to do my part to instill fear into the dispicable racists and nazis that marched in Charlottesville, VA. I was going to expose their faces, and praise the police for capturing the murder of Heather Heyer.
That was yesterday. I was afraid. Fear leads me to anger. I was angry. Angry leads me to action and the action I decided to take was one from the playbook of the very same racists and nazis. Use social media and the internet to expose them, make them lose their jobs, revel in the death threats they were receiving.
Then, I got an invite to attend a Rally Against Racism event sponsored by the Mayor of Santa Fe, Javier Gonzales and the Interfaith Leadership Alliance of Santa Fe. I took a new action, and drove with a friend to Santa Fe.
Full of piss and vinegar, I put on my pussy hat and took my best political bud, and found a good spot in the crowd. I expected anger, and I expected speakers to spark something in me to continue the good fight. I expected action lists (I’ll post one at the end of this article). I expected direction.
I was not expecting love.
I was happy to hear the words of Santa Fe’s Mayor Javier Gonzales: “There are not two sides in this problem…..only one side has blood on their hands tonight Mr President, and you are leading them.”
I expected to hear prayers from the various Interfaith Leaders that were there. I expected Nelson Mandela to be quoted as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. I was happy to see City and State Counsellors along side the city’s mayor and the Speaker of the House from our State government.
And as one heckler called out “Where’s the Governor?” and was met with hearty laughter, I knew I was not the only one that noticed her absence. Our Governor, happily denounces Trump but tows the party line for the GOP. And no one was surprised by her absence.
I even expected to see the hand made signs. “My father fought against the Nazis in WWII”. “White Silence = White Consent.” “We The People protect each other.” “White Silence = Violence”. And I expected a crowd of protesters to be protesting some subject that wasn’t related to the rally, finding another gathering place to makes their pleas heard.
I enjoyed the proclaimation read by Speaker of the House Brian Egoff, that made this rally, the announcement denouncing hatred, racism and marginalization of any group, and remembrance of the fallen officers and of murdered Heather Heyer, all part of our state record.
I’m glad the various clergy kept their prayers non-denominational, praying for peace, for love and for tolerance. I’m glad the NAACP had a past president and current president speak. I’m glad that these leaders of this city denounced hatred, white supremacy, the US President, the awful actions in Charlottesvile and decreed and decried that that type of bigotry had no home in Santa Fe.
I guess in a way, I even expected Love, even though just earlier in this blog I did not. I expected the 1960’s hand holding, daisy chain headresses, “All You Need is Love” refrain. There was a little of that. I was not expecting people to sing together en masse.
I was not expecting men and women around me to shake my hand and hug me as the Rabbi and Executive Director of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance proudly proclaimed, (paraphrasing) “We are descended from two people on this earth. There are no strangers here, only relatives that you haven’t met yet. Turn around, look at those around you. This is your family. We are Family. We are Family. Turn around and shake the hand or hug the person you see. For we are family.”
I didn’t expect handshakes, hugs, or people thanking me for coming from Albuquerque to join their family. I didn’t expect to see the women from the NAACP helping to hold the banner from the Rabbi’s temple. I didn’t expect to be moved to tears. I didn’t expect to now know that my fear is ok, my anger is ok, my action is ok, but now I need to act from love.
No, today, this is a different blog entirely. I am renewed. I will continue to move my fear from fear to anger to action. And I will continue to want to act out against bigotry, against racism, against anti-semiticsm, and against hatred. But I will now temper that action with love.
As promised: Community action list.
From the Southern Poverty Law Center.
All photos are my own taken from yesterday's rally.