26 March, 2013

Activism Empowerment!

Hey, Readers,

Before I start the post, a quick thank you to the people who commented on my last post! I really appreciate the occasional comment, because while view counts do let me know people are reading, it's even more concrete to me to get feedback. I don't know why, it's just how my brain works--Comments mean people are reading, haha.


Last week left me feeling very scattered, stressed, and generally confused about what to do with myself. On the one hand, I care a lot about certain topics, enough that I get really riled up about them, whether it be in response to negativity or just being excited about educating people on the topic. And on the other hand, sometimes the negativity part of it gets me so upset that I question whether I should be caring about these things at all. My boyfriend, other friends, and family members worry about me, sometimes, because I get so upset over people not caring about the things I find extremely important. My last post was about one such topic. So on Friday, I began a little video project about Calm, and how I can de-stress in a stressful environment (the house in which I currently reside). But I left that video for finishing later because I had a lot to do this weekend.

And let me tell you, a LOT happened this weekend!

Saturday morning I went to a meeting for faith groups against fracking. This time it was held at a Christian church in the town where I went to college, so I made sure to attend since it was close enough for me to drive myself. (They have meetings at other places, too, whether it be synagogue, UU churches, or next time it may be a Baptist church.) The organization (the name I will not share for personal reasons, I hope you understand) is made up of over 40 different faith communities, mostly in Ohio but also some in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It includes Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant faith groups. I got involved because members of my Unitarian Universalist church are heavily involved in running the group and organizing the meetings and action groups. The idea is that if religious groups, especially the congregation leaders, are informed about the dangers of fracking in our communities, they can then inform their congregation back home, and their congregation can take the information out into their personal world. And for many who believe that Earth is part of God's creation, the push is that we should be protecting that, as part of God's gift to us, etc. etc. Obviously as a pagan, I view it a little differently, but details are beside the point!

The meeting was GREAT. Like I said, it was in a Christian church this time, so several reverends said prayers for the Earth (which I could totally get behind as long as the word "God" was replaced with my own personal concept of Deity), and the speakers stood on the floor, between many rows of pews and the dais. We heard from a member of my church who updated the group on some events that had taken place, a woman who gave us specifics on the Keystone XL pipeline and why we need to make sure it isn't built, another woman in charge of a non-religious citizen group who talked for a very long time about various environmental issues, and a young man (around my age) who spoke eloquently about direct action.

The pipes!
When I first took my place in a pew off to the right, I quickly began feeling jittery and almost sick to my stomach. Taking a minute to take stock of myself, I realized this was due to the room itself. The energy in the sanctuary was pulsating, and I wasn't sure if it was from the other activists in the room and their personal energy, or if it was the energy of the sanctuary itself, from all the adherents and their usual services. Yesterday at church I mentioned this to Ron and Judy, two of my fellow Green Sanctuary committee members and members of this anti-fracking group, and Ron asked whether I had been at the meeting early enough to hear them playing the organ. There is a giant organ, the pipes of which make up the entire wall behind the dais and altar area of the church. I told him no, I wasn't there early enough to hear that, but I bet that had something to do with the reverberating energy I felt. Once I settled in and adjusted to the energy, however, the rest of the meeting was smooth sailing.

The young man who spoke about direct action had us all get up and move, talk about our opinions of the importance of direct action, name social movements throughout history, and ultimately discuss what kinds of direct action would be possible and appropriate for this cause. I didn't get to speak to him at the lunch afterwards, but I wanted to hug this kid, because through his talk and information, I realized and affirmed my love and need for activism. On Friday I had worried that I should really forget about certain things and just let people go on about their hateful, regressive lives. But on Saturday I was reminded just how important my causes are to me, and why they have to be so important to some of us in order to create any change.

At the lunch, I spoke to several people from different faith groups in nearby areas, and made some connections. I spoke to a nun from the Catholic school where my grandmother used to work, and when I mentioned Grams' name, the Sister said she was speaking to the granddaughter of a legend! I also spoke to another older UU couple who are also involved in theatre, so I may go to an event they're having at their church (the first UU church I visited, a couple years ago or so) in April. After the lunch, I showed a few people from the meeting around campus, thereby getting a chance to speak to even more people that I hadn't connected with at the lunch, and then just hung around for a few hours until I could see the theatre department's show that evening. It was a musical revue following the development of musical theatre throughout the years, and it was very cute, if absolutely crazy!

I ended up sleeping on the couch in the lounge of my old dorm floor, so I could stay up late visiting with people and not have to head home early. I woke up early and drove the farther distance to my church (since my college campus is in the opposite direction of the church from my home, so it took twice as long).

The service itself wasn't anything too special--it was a poetry service to beckon spring, but nothing struck me as particularly notable, except that the woman who read an Emily Dickinson poem just decided to change several of the words for no reason. I carry a book of Dickinson poetry in my bag, so I was able to check. But after service, I stayed and caught up with a woman named Sage, who had a few more job ideas for me, and we decided we might get a group together to see some films at the Cleveland International Film Festival next month. My Wiccan friend's daughter couldn't find her mother and instead asked me for a dollar to buy a candy bar for Sage's son's fund raiser, so I obliged and got a piece of the candy bar in return. Then I was informed by the DRE that I simply had to stay to watch the documentary about which I had forgotten. So I stayed.

The documentary is called Miss Representation, and was made for/originally shown on the Own network. I hear you can watch it all on YouTube, so you can check it out. It's about portrayal of women by the media, and how we need to make sure our daughters AND our sons know what's real and what is being pushed at us by the media who really just want people to think they have to be a certain way. It's a great documentary, about an hour and ninety minutes long, full of facts and quotes and personal stories. I was upset that the group of viewers decided to go home instead of having a discussion immediately. The discussion will be scheduled for another time, but I think people will forget what needed to be said by then, or not come back for the discussion at all. In any case, this was another topic that really showed why activism is important. Certain people need to be the ones to care, to stand up, to speak up, and to create the change. As the young man at the church meeting said, supporters are very important. Just like in the LGBT community, we need allies, too. The people who don't do the standing and speaking, but silently support, are extremely important to any movement. Though, too, are the activists. And either way, direct or indirect action, people simply need to care. People need to get riled up. People need to worry and be bothered. We just need to make sure we maintain our own peace of mind within that, in order to be able to expend our energy in such realms.

Dalai Lama Words of Wisdom card that started my
"Study in Calm" on Friday, 22 March 2013.
So today (and I know this is being posted after midnight, so it's going to show up as a Tuesday post), I completed my video project about Calm. I only altered one line to account for my renewed sense of importance in my own propensity for activism. I didn't want to discount it. It is very important, to me and to the world at large. I will be making a quick video just about this general empowerment topic and what I did this weekend, and then later this week I will post two versions of my Study in Calm. The first is the "study," if you will, which includes several quotes and my personal thought process about the topic. The second version is the same exact video, but without the voiceover, so it only includes the calming sounds I put in the background. I'm very excited to show them both later on this week, and to remember that this weekend, the Universe once again pulled my experiences together to send me a message. And for that, I am grateful.


1 comment:

  1. I read your blog and almost never comment. So there's one. I also watch you faithfully on the Pagan Perspective. You're the best one on there; the vampire dude is a close second. Be blessed :)