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Focusing on division silences, marches give people voices

When candidates spoke at the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally, the voice of one was drowned out, by some assuming the worst of her.  Organizers asked for respect so both voices could be heard.

Media picked up the shouts of “liar” and the calls for “children’s health care” and “DACA”—conflict!

Hmmm! Children’s health care for six years was passed in the bill ending the government shutdown, and promises were made to address DACA—children who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents.

Meanwhile, Cathy McMorris Rogoer’s talk about sitting down at meals to listen to people and traveling in the footsteps of civil rights marches with others in Congress were lost as media picked up on the shouting, focusing on the disruption of hecklers.

The words of Lisa Brown were mostly lost in the media reports.  So this issue gives  voice to the content of what both said. 

We also summarized Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which we may often hear, but it’s words are rarely repeated in media.  We chose to summarize the dream to call attention to its meaning.

Martin Luther King Day, 3,000 marched. Those at the rally were urged to vote.

There were 6,500 in the Spokane Women’s Persistence  March on Sunday, Jan. 21, along with 400 in Omak, and tens of thousands in some cities across the U.S. and world, adding up to about 4 million women and men of all ages and races.

A record number of women have signed up to run for office, according to the Washington Post—390 for the U.S. House and 49 for the U.S. Senate.

The #MeToo movement is a force drawing many to march and to run for office.

More than 165 came to come to the 2018 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference—more than last year—to be inspired and empowered to act. The next issue of The Fig Tree will summarize speakers, issues before the state legislature and how people in the community can be informed to act to influence laws and policies.

Rallies, marches and conferences are what democracy looks like.  Many urged people to take their voices from the streets to the polls to vote—to use their democratic power to make a difference.

Just as the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement is stirring people to speak out, stirring visionaries, stirring people to seek and work for justice.

Resistance and persistence, vigilance and endurance are needed, because human rights, justice, equality and respect don’t come easily or readily.  Once they begin to take root, opposition forces will seek to undo them. So we keep singing, “We shall overcome.” We also keep walking, marching, talking, praying and working to bend the arc of history toward justice.

When the voice of one leader is silenced, new voices must arise to call on the next generations, to continue to challenge violence, greed, bias, disrespect and despair.

Singer Linda Stone reminds that we can do all things God calls us to do because Christ strengthens and empowers us to fulfill God’s purpose.

Happy Watkins reminds us it took 25 years to achieve a Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Spokane.  Over the years there were disappointments, setbacks, roadblocks, tears and heartaches, but “when we fall on our backs, we can look up and get up,” to continue walking, marching and working for justice.

“When we wish upon a star, no dream is too extreme,” said Happy, who keeps alive the dream for each generation.

May we keep the dream alive by acting.

Mary Stamp – Editor

Copyright © February 2018 - The Fig Tree