Mural in Chiapas, MX

A Lesson from The Movement

I watched it.

A lot of people I know were boycotting it. Saying we shouldn’t normalize, or that it was too heavy and negative and thus unproductive; and I do respect those positions; but myself, I felt I needed to see it. To stay engaged, to feel and live through what’s happening; because after all, this is really happening to me, to us, and not to someone else.

It was like breathing through the lurches of a stomach bug — the only way to get through it is to get through it.

After it was over, I turned back to my work, not knowing what else to do. The item at the top of my list was returning a call to someone I’ve known and worked with for several years. Now in his eighties, he’s a lifelong activist / organizer and veteran of the civil rights, farm workers, labor, and immigrant rights movements.

“Hey Bill, how are you?”

“Not too good, you know…” Here, I expected him to make some remarks on the events of the morning. Maybe commiserate with me, talk about how worried we are.

Instead, he said: “We have a long list of bad anti-immigrant bills we’re preparing to fight here in the State Legislature. We also have a number of really good bills that we’re advocating for. There’s a lot of work ahead. I’m going to send you those lists this afternoon.”

Right. We started discussing communication strategy, complementary materials, and timeline.

It wasn’t the first time his pragmatism has forced me out a cycle of worry and disempowerment.

Take the next steps, one foot after the other. There’s not time for anything else.

Thanks, Bill.