May. 28th, 2017

sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
Right after the US House of Representatives passed their horrific "health" "care" tax cut act, I donated $100 to opponents of swing district Republicans who voted for the act. No idea if the money will make any difference or will even end up where it's supposed to, but I had to do something.

Yesterday I went to the vigil for Taliesin Meche and Ricky Best, the two men stabbed and killed by a white supremacist on the MAX train Friday afternoon. They stepped in to defend two young Muslim women from the white supremacist's harassment. Micah Fletcher, who also intervened and was stabbed, is expected to survive his injuries. The armed, violent white supremacist was taken into police custody alive.

The organizers didn't have sound amplification at the vigil, so we couldn't hear any of the speeches. We stood quietly with the candles someone kindly gave us, shielding them from the breeze. The people in the crowd looked kind, authentic, like people I would want to know. There were a lot (for Portland) of people of color, Middle-Eastern faces, Jewish faces. I felt like I belonged there.

There was a brief chant of "Not in our town!" Nice thought, but yes, this is happening in our town. Fascism and racism go way back in Portland. At the same time, it's good to know there are a couple of thousand people willing to stand in the heat on short notice to say "We're here. We stand for peace, and inclusion."

And then we biked home and sat on my front steps to enjoy the evening coolness and clear light. As we collectively spiral down into disaster, life also goes on more or less as usual. For those of us who didn't get directly affected this time.

The murders happened a couple of miles from where I live, at a MAX station I use sometimes. I went to the Farmer's Market right near there as usual the morning after, and people were chatting and buying vegetables in the bright sun, but with a jangling tension in the background. Too close to home. That could have been me. I keep reminding myself that people of color have been living in this dystopic world for a long time.

This spiraling descent like a bird pinwheeling out of the sky is not what I wanted to live through. And yet here I am, here the world is. We each contribute as we can, some by fighting disconnection, some by fostering connection. I don't know what doing enough looks like. I don't know if any amount would be enough to make a difference, to change our course.

I do think every little bit helps in the long run, making people's lives a little better where I can. And, the long run might be long. Things might keep getting worse for quite a while.

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Sonia Connolly

May 2017

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