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Sonoma County Marches for Human Rights and Unity

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Sonoma County Marches for Human Rights and Unity


Attending Santa Rosa’s  “Stand Up For Women” Jan 21

By  Marcia Singer

“Isn’t Santa Rosa wonderful?!” exclaimed the bus driver. We were four passengers, me alone up front.  I was also beaming at the display of local marchers bearing signs, while we waited for bus passage through. I had just come from that crowd, still sporting my safety-pinned note, “Love Trumps Fear.”  Mid-bus sat a Black dude dressed in orange Buddhist attire: hadn’t I seen him walking on Old Redwood Highway near my house?  Had he come to the local rally, too? 

The crowds had made our ride twenty minutes late.  So many had come to show support for equality, respect, caring and action that benefits everyone.  We’d come to sing for peace and shout out for justice, and listen to speakers sharing our broad, progressive, inclusive world view, our prayers for all living things, all sentient beings. Signs demanding universal healthcare, rights for women, immigrants, LGBTQ persons and pleas for protection for the earth filled the town hall square.  The tone was solidarity for humanity’s best dreams, protest against allowing our worst instincts to rule.  And what a diverse rainbow of humanity we were!  Young families with kids sporting hand-made “love & peace” signs, graying activists singing a rousing “I Got As Hammer,” teen groups and college youth with glaring pastel hair and piercings, dancing couples, and wheelchair bound vets.  We’d come together to publically stand up for what we value, and for our collective future.  

People Power - Santa Rosa march January 21, 2017

And to think I nearly missed it!  Worried about tiring myself out, standing too long on pavement, dealing with rain, crowd noises, traffic.  Luckily, I thought to try Sonoma County Transit.  Within minutes of boarding, I’d discovered three other older riders all headed to the rally: sweet!  At the end of the line, we exited, wishing each other well, moving into the streets, crowds –and signs galore –clever, angry,  fervent, thoughtful: “The reality show has got to go.”  “Make America Nice Again.”  “11/0=9/11.” “No one is free while others are oppressed.” “Queer with no fear,” and “Proud Nasty Woman.” “Girls Just Wanna Have FUNdamental Healthcare.”

I was pleased and proud I’d come to this gathering of lively yet peaceful kindreds. But my body was tiring, and I thought to catch the next bus back – nearly missing it, as the driver had gotten directions to lead on the opposite side of the street, from normal.  “Don’t you just love it?” said our extroverted chauffeur of all the local citizens collectively standing up for fairness, compassion and a decent way of life for everybody --?

Unit Our Love - Santa Rosa march Jan 21-2017Yes, indeed I did.  And during the trip back to my hood, we also opined about corporate greed affecting so many of our lives, including local bus drivers. She shared some of the challenges in working with the public, passengers struggling for dimes, food, a dry place to sleep, right medications.  When I mentioned how some cities require protective shielding for drivers, she said she couldn’t live in a cage like that. She opts for being as respectful as possible to every passenger. Again and again, I was moved by her empathy for her riders, colleagues, everyone hurt by our politics of economic greed and inequality. We echoed each other, that it’s up to us to show up, speak out for a just, caring place to call home.  And that sometimes you only get there, you only wake up through hurt and loss. And then realizing you can choose how you want to live. 

As I was getting ready to exit, I asked this exemplary employee her name --“Teresa.” I wondered if  she had a word for me to describe her philosophy of life and being on the job: “Evolving!” she replied. 

Indeed, aren’t we all? 

The Buddhist, wearing a damp, well-worn grey jacket got off at the same stop. As I bowed to him in recognition, he said hopefully, ”Enlightenment,” asking if I might spare some change for a meal.  I gave what I had left, he bid me well.  As I walked down ORH back to my MHP, I spied treasured turkey tail mushroom growing on rotting logs; perfect for immune healthy tea.

A glorious day to Be.   

Shining deLight, Marcia