Sunday's Rally in support of Justice for Trayvon Martin was an outpouring of anger, grief, frustration, sadness, compassion and love. People from Portland communities shared thoughts, feelings and experiences with an interracial, inter-generational, inter-ethnic crowd of hundreds of people including many members of the GLBT community.
Sen. Avel Gordly had a tremendous effect on us. She inspired us, she led us, she taught us, she moved us as she laid another brick in the foundation of love needed to build our Beloved Community. She invited young black men in the audience to come stand with her and her son on the stage as she spoke.
In doing so, Sen. Gordly helped humanize these young men. She forced us to surrender our tendency to abstract the lives of these human beings into some vaguely formed (mostly media driven) image of young black maleness. She asked us to express our concern and love for them by asking us to say aloud to them, "Your life is important to me." We did. She then asked audience members to look at one another and express the same caring, the same affirmation for the lives of one another by saying: "Your life is important to me." We did.
She challenged us to stop passing one another by without acknowledging each other, as though we had no connection. In doing so she helped us consider how our failure to connect underlies our tendency to depersonalize each other and thereby fail to listen to each other.
Several speakers gave us ideas on actions or how to get organized or involved in groups that will help make the changes we want to see, and we are grateful. Many of us will find our way into an organization or program or public action.
Sen. Gordly gave us a somewhat different challenge. She challenged us to start making change immediately, right there at the rally. Her challenge pointed out that while we need organizations, programs or public actions to effect change, some of the most significant changes we have to make are in our own hearts. We must look into our hearts to find what we might need to explore, eliminate, rearrange or create as we take the next steps toward building Beloved Community.
Thank you Sen. Gordly.