I meant to post yesterday about the plight of Habiba and Alma as we staged our own little demonstration at the park yesterday. Thankfully, this morning we found out they were reunited! But I'd still like to write about what we did yesterday.
Yesterday, the kids and I "marched" to the park, set up a sign, and sat for an hour and a half singing lullabies and handing out flyers in a peaceful demonstration on behalf of Habiba and Alma (the flyers asked people to contact the Spanish Consulate in L.A. and tell them that we wanted them reunited.) We scheduled it at 2 PM, the time set for demonstrations/lullaby sings all over the world yesterday. We passed out 6 flyers; not, you might think, that big of a contribution. But that wasn't the important part to me. The important part, for me, was teaching my kids that this is what we do. When we see injustice, we stand up for people in trouble. We organize. We protest.
On the way to the park, we had a great talk about the American civil rights movement. We talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. We talked about Ghandi. I mentioned Cesar Chavez too, I think. And we talked about the meaning of "non-violent demonstration" and why non-violence. We talked about what Jesus taught us about how to treat people who hurt us. We talked about doing what is right no matter the consequences to yourself. And we talked about why we would be singing that day.
This was a lesson for my children that we put our actions where our words and our hearts are. We stand up for those who are treated unfairly. We are part of something bigger- we are part of a city, a state, a nation, but also part of a world full of human beings just like us, and all of them deserve to be treated fairly, and to have their basic rights respected. When there is a wrong to one human being it is a wrong to all of humanity, and we must stand up and say "this is wrong." Not hurting anyone by doing so, but peacefully saying "We will not stand for this."
That is what I learned when I asked my dad what we could do when we heard the news of the massacre at Tiananmen Square on NPR when I was 6, and he said we could go join a peaceful demonstration. That is what I learned as we stood outside the Chinese Consulate that weekend with a crowd of other people who also would not stand for that wrong. That is what I learned as my 3 year old brother and I sang with the crowd "We Shall Overcome" that day. And that is what I hoped to teach my children as we sang "We Shall Overcome" along with many, many lullabies yesterday.
In the words of the song,
We are not alone,
We are not alone,
We are not alone today!
Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe that
We shall overcome some day.
We were not alone, we are part of a global community that protested this wrong and celebrates the reunion and, hopefully, will continue to fight injustice together. I do believe that if we can keep on this path, individual humans uniting into a larger force of peaceful strength for other individual humans who are wronged, some day we can overcome injustice. Some day, we shall overcome the wrongs of the world, and it is through peace, not violence, that will happen. The lesson I learned as a child is the lesson I hope to teach my own children- change comes through working together and non-violence, hurting others is not the way to enact change. I pray that I can help them learn that. I think that yesterday was a good start.