Becoming an activist was never part of my retirement plan. As I’ve mentioned before, however, most of my retirement hasn’t gone exactly as expected. Even so, as a rule follower and sometimes goody two-shoes, this activism thing is definitely outside of my comfort zone.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but most of my adult life I’ve avoided the news and lived sheltered from most of the bad things that happen in the world. Sure, I was moved by disasters and prayed for the victims, maybe even sent a small donation. Of course I volunteered to walk or donate to causes that I cared about. There were a couple of times when I even wrote to my senators or representatives in congress and of course I voted so I haven’t been a total slacker. Do you like how I’ve justified my apathy and total lack of action here?
Now that I have more time on my hands and am following various people and organizations on social media and blogs, I’m learning a lot about what’s going on locally and globally and much of it isn’t good. There are people suffering from hunger, abuse, racism, and sexism. As a nation we spend more money on our military than any other category. The damage we have done to the planet is getting to the point where it may not be reversible. Things that once hovered on the periphery of my life are now taking center stage and I’m feeling compelled to do much more than just feel bad about it, send a donation, or lament to friends and family.
The first protest I attended was in Lansing, Michigan. It was a part of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The purpose was to unite people across the United States to take on issues like systematic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and our nation’s current morality. It was quite an eye opening experience to hear what people and the earth are experiencing and how little is being done about it. As a rookie, I had to borrow a sign from someone (who knew you had to bring one?) and also volunteered to carry a cross to plant in the lawn of the state capitol.
Thankfully other people brought signs for newbie activists like me
My fellow activist
The Capitol, Lansing, MI
Crosses to signify all the people who have died from gun violence
A couple of weeks ago I attended was an action by the Michigan Climate Action Network called Climate and the Commons. For two hours people stood outside the Ann Arbor Main Library telling their person experience about what changes they are seeing in the environment. Again, I was ill prepared and without a sign – I clearly have a lot of work to do to become a better activist.
Love this sign! Ann Arbor, MI
Now it’s the eve of the next event – the Campaign Nonviolence National Convergence in Washington, DC. As stated on their website, here’s the plan, ”Together, our collective actions and voices are calling for an end to the culture of racism, poverty, war, and environmental destruction, and making the choice for nonviolence, peace and truth.”
Even though I lived near DC for quite a few years, that was a really long time ago and it’s kind of scary to hit the road, hop on the metro rail, and find my way around to the rally and march. Thankfully my usual partner in crime, Linda, is coming with me so if nothing else it will be an adventure.
The purpose of this post is not to shine the light on me and make it seem like I’m some kind of awesome person who’s out there doing stuff. It’s more about another Naked On The Tundra moment when I’m pretty scared about it but am doing it anyway. At least this time I have a sign all made up! With any luck I will be able to tell all about it in a few days. If you watch the event on YouTube on September 22 at 9:00 am Eastern, you might catch a glimpse of me!
Hey, I’m an activist, not an artist.