The Urgency of Now

I want to write about the ban, about Bannon, about all the ways we’ve fought in just these two short weeks.

I want to write a whole piece just about the drums and chanting at the march from Battery Park to Foley Square the other afternoon that lasted into the night. The crowd had again far exceeded the expectations of the organizers and the police. I was walking with my daughter, and my immigrant friends from Armenia, Panama, and Jamaica.

I want to write about the training for marshals by Rise and Resist at the LGBTQ Community Center in the West Village, where enough people had gathered to form an army against each of the ways our freedoms and Constitution are being so viciously attacked. And armed we are, with laws, with values, and with conscience, in solidarity with each other’s causes because each cause for dignity and freedom is a matter of saving a whole under attack.

I want to write about the night I rushed by our corner bodega, with its gates drawn down in solidarity with other Yemeni businesses, rode two trains for forty-five minutes, and ended up standing right next to the owner, yes, of our corner bodega, where I sometimes buy things we don’t need. It was a crowd of thousands, but my feet had brought me directly to him, and he was even more surprised, his eyes expressing the same saying in Arabic, Armenian, English, thank you for being here, daughter.

I want to write about the protest outside Senator Schumer’s office, where I handed out homemade cookies to teachers and our allies, and from where we took the 6 train down to the Tweed Courthouse, to protest more, with a larger group of educators and our allies, so that our students will be honored with a secretary of education who knows, understands, and values public education.

I want to write about the LGBTQ rally at Stonewall Inn, sprawling through a good part of the West Village, in support of immigrants and refugees, against the Muslim Ban, against bigotry, racism, fascism, and homophobia. I want to quote from every sign I saw because nobody does it better with rainbows and glitter. I’m too worried to be funny, one read, in bold blue betters on cardboard. Where will all these signs end up? They belong in a museum. The Museum of American Civil Liberties, perhaps. Or the Museum of the People’s Revolution.

I want to write about the freedom songs sing-along in Washington Square Park this afternoon, which I shared with family, and friends, old and new, where I met the girl my son has been mentioning at dinner time, watched him adore her, treat her as one does when one has respect for oneself, and compassion for others. I watched my five-year-old daughter singing from the lyrics on the awkwardly folded sheets in her tiny gloved hands, heard her small voice rise up and join the voices of this village, gathered under the Arch to resist in melodious harmony. We shall overcome.

But how to write about all this, when there are lessons to plan, meals to cook, children to raise, friendships to nurture, protests, rallies, marches, meetings to plan, to organize, so that we can resist? How not to join each cause to which my feet can carry me, when all oppression is connected, and when no one is free when someone’s liberty is threatened?

Writing will have to wait, it seems. Because this is the time for action.

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