"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Sunday, September 11, 2011

look at banner!

my future husband and i are featured on Democracy Now!'s banner for their 9/11 War and Peace Report, "The 9/11 Decade: Voices of Dissent."

the photo they collaged was from an ANSWER LA protest in March of 2010, on the 7th anniversary of the Iraq War [ link goes to the original source article of the following photograph, taken by Gary Friedman of the LA Times ]

this photo of us represents a significant moment for me, so i'm honored Democracy Now chose to use it as a representation of the post-9/11 generation and post-9/11 America, and how we are moving forward in the wake of the attacks.

that particular moment of the protest was an extremely intense and emotional one for me. we had marched through the heart of Hollywood - "thousands" of us, according to the article - and stopped when we reached the soundstage. there were speakers, but i don't really remember what they spoke about. i was too absorbed in my surroundings - people stretching back for miles, and us at the front of it all, learning Spanish as we marched along alternating between chants in English and Spanish, and there were police on the rooftops in black uniforms and i could hear helicopters over our voices.
the following photographs all come from ANSWER LA's flickr site.

everywhere around you could see the ravages of 9/11, amazing how the collective memory is so intact, and intensified, in the presence of so many people. it was fascinating to me to see the violence implicit in a peace protest: people angry at 7 years of war, comparisons between Obama and Bush, banners that read "RIP Public Education" and others that suggested 9/11 was an inside job, others expressed a hatred for Zionism. it became clear how much violence and pain we were still experiencing so many years later, and how much suffering we were still self-inflicting. it made me wonder if we'd ever find our way out of pain and violence.
and then, we were invited to sit in the street and observe a collective moment of silence for all the victims of the aftermath. all the victims of war and hatred and the victims of the class wars and the budget cuts whose impacts will damage us for years to come. 9/11 killed thousands of innocent civilians, here and abroad, led to human rights violations, changed the way we travelled, shattered relationships with our international brothers and sisters, and now was beginning to erode our democracy as public education took the first major hit as the war sucked our government dry of funds. as we sat in the street, everything suddenly hushed, i felt a trembling fear in my heart for what would happen if we did not find a way to peace.
in the silence, i wanted to weep. here we were, all connected by tragedy, but still with the strength to see that war wasn't right. here was hope. i could see all around me people start to put fists in the air in solidarity. there was strength still in all of us, despite feeling crushed down by despair. this war would kill our spirit if we let it, but the crowds of protest were growing, the voices of dissent were growing, and would continue. we were joined on the street by thousands of people from multiple walks of life, and maybe in this group would be a future president, a future lawmaker, a future organizer, a teacher, a parent willing to believe we still have the responsibility to change.
another reason i am so honored that this picture was taken, let alone used by Democracy Now!, is that ben and i are together in it. ben and i first met while working together on a living wage campaign at Miami, and we fell in love through our mutual dedication to social justice. one thing that made me excited to get to know ben better throughout our relationship was the feeling of finally having a true partner, someone who i could depend on emotionally and who would give me strength, but who also shared my passions and would collaborate with me to make the world a better place. my whole life, i wanted to change the world; finally i had someone who would walk beside me all my life and help me do it. as we move forward and prepare to join our lives together, we plan to always honor our commitment to social justice, and to foster lives that practice a philosophy of love.

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