Thursday, February 14, 2013

March for Change -- Post 12/14

After the great blizzard Nemo (seriously the most ridiculous name), my mood was foul. I have grown to hate snow. Snow is the enemy. Snow causes back injuries from shoveling and broken hips from falling.

On Sunday morning, two days later, we woke up here in the Northeast to a day almost like a day out West. The sun was so bright it reflected off the icicles that were hanging everywhere. While we still had many more hours of shoveling to do, my mood lifted.

If I can see the sun, I'm okay.

After being socked in for the weekend, I completely forgot about Valentine's Day and a commitment I'd made in January to participate in something called the March for Change. To honor the two month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, a group of women initially (and men) decided to take action.

The events of 12/14/12 saddened us all. It didn't matter on that day how you felt about politics or guns or the 2nd Amendment. You were still someone's mother or father, someone's child, someone's sibling. I remember I took a half day off from work to do something -- I don't know what. I was listening to the radio on my way home and had to pull the car over I was so distraught. Then my mom called and my roommate from college who lives in Littleton, CO (home to Columbine). We all cried on that day. We cried during Christmas. We lit candles, sent teddy bears and generally did what any compassionate human being would do in the face of such terrible tragedy. There were so many acts of kindness from around the world, it seemed like it would just go on.

And then winter set it. The holidays were over. It's human nature to forget. I remember my friend Deb posted something on Facebook about a march and it stuck with me. Why not? It's been a long time since I got off my duff and did something about an issue, any issue.

As the day grew closer and closer, I started to think maybe this is silly. What does it matter if I go? Look at all these other women who have been lobbying State leaders and rallying buses and taking charge. So I'm going to show up in my lame green track suit jacket and that matters?

More than 5,500 women, men and children showed up today in Hartford. That's twice the crowd that was predicted. It was another beautiful sunny day. The snow was still on the ground but I had to take my coat off to stay cool. There were speeches from politicians on both sides of the issue. There were celebs (Christine Baranski, you rock). There were activists and organizers. But it was the families, of course, that got to me.

Henrietta Beckman from Mothers United Against Violence. She lost her son.  Colin Goddard who survived the shooting at Virginia Tech. Survivors from Aurora. A father who lost his 14 year-old, the same age as my son. He was stifling back tears.

Jillian Soto spoke about her older sister Victoria, a very brave teacher who died that day in her classroom trying to shield her students. She said, "Vicki was already my hero. She didn't have to die to be my hero."

And Veronique Pozner spoke about her six year-old son Noah who was murdered that day in Newtown. She reminded us of all the things he will never experience from middle school to dating, and marriage and kids. She said on this beautiful day, "Noah will never feel the sun on his face again."

She spoke of Noah not as a martyr but as a typical child full of energy and difficult questions and curiosity. From far away, I couldn't see it but she held up one of his last art projects for Thanksgiving. You know the one where kids trace their hand to make a turkey. And then Noah was asked to label each of the 5 feathers on the turkey with something he was grateful for that day. He wrote:

1. Electricity (possibly a reference to recent power outages after Hurricane Sandy)

2. Books

3. Friends

4. Family

And on the last feather, he wrote

5. The Life I Live

Less than one month later, Noah was killed.

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