Tuesday, September 23, 2014

People's Climate March Sunday with West-Park: ...We need everyone


Roosevelt Credit...Siyahamba...We are marching

Climate march day. Stephen’s there early to get everything ready. We’ll have water, juice, coffee, donuts. At 86th and Amsterdam, we’re at the nexus of the bus drop off route. There’s a steady stream coming, bringing marchers from across the country. A group of college students from Wesleyan has gathered on the steps.
new friends from Wesleyan
We share our coffee and donuts with them. In pairs and trios other visitors keep stopping by. The buses keep arriving.

We start our service an hour earlier than usual so we can all get to the interfaith service at the Faith group gathering site at 58th street. We’re joined by friends and guests…my old neighbor Ric who’s performed here several times, my old friend John from Tulsa, who did preservation research for us years ago, others will come and join as well. 
The men are ready to march

I start our time together by singing the Times they are a Changin I did Friday night and then Woody’s This Land is Your Land… We read from Psalm 124:… the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…and I read the story of the manna in Exodus 16: 2-15. How we are provided with what we need, with enough. And the part of the story I really like, if you try to hoard, it goes bad on you. We all have enough. There is no need to hoard or to ravenously consume. I share Al Gore’s line about ussies instead of selfies. And I ask each person what has brought them here this day. There is a deep concern about the future. And Deacon James reminds us that these climate changes impact the poor and vulnerable communities first and worst, from Katrina to Sandy. We had sung the traditional Morning has broken and For the beauty of the earth…and finish with a good marching song, Siyahamba…

at Columbus Circle
It’s time to head to Columbus Circle. We’ll take the subway, Ric bikes down. Buses still arriving. A beautiful sunny day. Hard not to remember the anti-nuclear march of 1982.

On 58th Street, the faith contingent is already large. There’s the ark created by Auburn Seminary. There’s an imam and a rabbi with a shofar and Native American shamans and a self-proclaimed atheist. The point being: we’re all in the same boat now…and also we are all Noah…nearby us an inflatable mosque.
The ark
Signs for the different faith groups are raised down the street to bring folks together.
There are speakers. And contemporary Jewish music. And Sikh music. And more speakers. And of course my friend TK, our go to Buddhist. There are as Center Board member Ted says, Forgive me, too damn many clergy
Ted and Asya from the Center Board
but you can’t leave anyone out..Peter Yarrow arrives with his daughter and granddaughter (and world famous cellist Michael Fitzpatrick) and leads us in Where have  all the flowers gone?
Where have all the flowers gone?
And reminds us of the power of singing along. We needed more of that. The wait goes on for hours. Seeing many friends from different traditions in our waiting area.
Rabbi Michael Feinberg of Labor/Religion Coalition and Rev. Chloe Breyer of the Interfaith Center of New York City
Finally we’re led by Roosevelt Credit in the most rocking version  of Siyahamba ever…with parts of Peace like a River and other songs thrown in as well…we’re ready to roll… all 10000 of us faith marchers…

Notes from the march:
* Amazed by the level of planning and organization that went into this
* Part of the experience is the watching out for each other and staying connected in a crowd…made our group feel closer
*Always enjoy the crowds along the side, their signs, their applause
* Some look like they’ve wandered in from other marches, like gay pride or occupy…or look like maybe they’re just always there…permanent presence that appears when the next march comes down the street
*Somewhere near 42nd Street, the entire march grinds to a halt..the streets are completely full …every inch occupied..somewhere between 350 and 400000 of us…
* Moving to see many reunions of occupiers along the route, embraces and long hugs…for some it’s been years since they saw each other…last week was the third anniversary od the beginning of Zucotti…that spirit still flows like an underground stream…still there..
* The influence of the Occupy experience clear in this march, like the various organized blocs
* Amazing to walk down the middle of 42nd Street through Times Square
marching down 42nd street
* When we reach 11th Street, we’re requested to disperse….but we continue tio walk to 34th checking out the Ribbon project…
The Ribbon Project

Marches lift our spirits. Help us feel connected. Make a manifest witness. Our first march as a congregation in a very long time…

The sun is still shining. On our way home. Tired. But filled….with just, hope….

To change everything it takes everyone…

we marched together

1 comment:

  1. With 60 BILLION food animals on the planet, this should be our first step in the Climate March!

    "As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease." Worldwatch Institute, "Is Meat Sustainable?"

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains... the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    "A 1% reduction in world-wide meat intake has the same benefit as a three trillion-dollar investment in solar energy." ~ Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy

    There is one single industry destroying the planet more than any other. But no one wants to talk about it...

    Step by Step Guide: How to Transition to a Vegan Diet