Monday, March 17, 2008

Stand With Us on May 11, 2008

First there were two, then four, than another three, then two more, then.... From down the hill, over the fence, up from the street, from across the stairs, they came to answer the call from We intuitively formed a circle. Women and men and children and Coyote, the dog, came together in the lush clover with the majestic Loretto Convent building boarded up and empty behind us. We casually introduced ourselves to one another as we rang our Tibetan bells and cow bells and school bells and silver bells to announce the location. And then at 1:00, we held the silence. Sometimes the noise from the busy street or voices from the top of the hill intruded, but this circle held the silence. In those five sacred minutes, our silent intentions joined the bustle and rode the gentle spring wind to join with others who were also standing. A chill snaked up my spine as I looked around and beheld the circle of strangers and friends and family standing together to change the world. This silence was golden indeed! When the bells rang out to end the silence, my soul sang. May 2007 Standing in Ontario, Canada

Last May 13, 2007, thousands of women from young babies to our most senior elders, and the men and boys they love, stood together for five minutes of silence at 1 p.m. their local time in 75 countries on all continents in a 24 hour wave of humanity. We stood in parks, in school yards, in churches, on front porches, in back yards, on beaches, at graduation ceremonies and in our living rooms. We, who call ourselves, stood in support of our dream for the world’s children and grandchildren and the seven generations beyond them:

We dream of a world where all of our children have safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and enough food to eat. A world where they have access to a basic education to develop their minds and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies. A world where  they have a warm, safe and loving place to call home. A world where they don't live in fear of violence--in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school or in their world.  This is the world of which we dream. This is the cause for which we stand.

One may ask, “What good does it do to stand in silence for five minutes?”
The transformative power of standing in silence, knowing that at the same time thousands of similarly committed humans are standing with you all up and down your time zone, is profound. We felt the connective tissue that binds us together as one world, one people, who have both a commitment and a responsibility to care for each other and for all of the world’s children.

Many of us left the standing last May with Helen Keller’s famous quote in mind:
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."

Our hope is that the very act of gathering and standing together in silence will inspire and energize all of us to take actions that will help realize our dream of a better world for our children, our grandchildren and the seven generations beyond them.

We have great power to shape the world to achieve our dreams. Individuals in deciding how to spend their time, where to donate their money, and even just how to treat other beings on this earth can have an enormous impact on the world. For example, students from a school in the Bronx, P.S. 52, made up of some of the poorest kids in the area, after seeing the water scarcity in a UN video hosted by rap star JayZ, got together their pennies, dimes and nickels and raised over $2,000 to send to the most drought-affected villages in Africa.

If you share our dream of a better world for our children, for ourselves, for our future, please stand with us this year on May 11, 2008.

Please gather for five minutes of silence at 1 p.m. your local time in your local park, school yard, gathering place, or any place you deem appropriate, to signify your commitment to this dream.  If a different hour is better for you, please stand then—you will simply be joining women and their loved ones from a different time zone.

We ask that you invite the men and boys who you care about to join you. 
Please bring bells to ring to signify the beginning of the five minutes of silence and to ring again to signify the end of the period of silence.  During the silence, please think about what you individually and we collectively can do to attain the world of which we dream.  Afterwards, we hope that you and your loved ones will talk together about what you can commit to do, individually and collectively, to bring about this world.

And, then, just do it!