“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”.~ Mahatma Gandhi
Last week I had an opportunity to experience a sea of humanity in Los Angeles, CA. I flew from Nicaragua to march in solidarity for human rights and immigrants throughout the world. It was one of the most meaningful days of my life.
750,000 people of all races, nationalities, genders, and ages marched through the streets of Los Angeles. The reasons we marched were as numerous as the problems we face throughout the world. Yet, it was as if we were floating in an ocean of serenity, swaying and bobbing peacefully… gleefully… shoulder to shoulder…heart to heart.
I took the Nicaraguan flag and displayed it proudly for my Nicaraguan and expat friends. I am an immigrant, too. When we moved to Nicaragua 13 years ago, we spoke no Spanish and were the only gringos living in our tiny village.
Have you experienced living in a neighborhood where you are the minority or an immigrant? Before moving to Nicaragua, we lived comfortable middle-class white lives. I taught in many schools with a diverse population of students. But, I always wondered how I could show them that I truly cared.
My friend, Jennie, who attended the Women’s March in Washington D.C. explained her feelings eloquently:
How could I show my minority friends and neighbors that I care about them? That I disagree with Trump? Sure, I could be kind to them. I could bake them cookies. And those things are good. But you know what they need? They need solidarity. They need those of us with white Christian privilege to stand WITH them. One hundred and seventy years ago after being driven from their countries, my ancestors arrived in the U.S. only to be driven from state to state because of religious differences. No one stood up for them, despite their appeals to the government. How would my life be different now if someone had? If millions of people sent a message to the government that freedom of religion means freedom of ALL religions?
So, I stood, marched, danced, and chanted WITH them in the sea of humanity…in solidarity…because I care. Joy washed over me, and several times I couldn’t hold back the tears! This was a powerful display of unity like I had never seen or experienced before!
We created a peaceful ruckus which reverberated throughout Los Angeles. And not one fight or arrest. In fact, the police joined us in the march!
We laughed and cheered as we walked side by side with signs of “UGH”, “Love not Hate”, “The time is always right to do what is right”, “Love Trumps Hate”, “Left or right, we all see wrong”, and “Men of Quality respect Women’s Equality.”
It was a march FOR and not a protest AGAINST. We marched for equal rights, environmental protection, women’s rights, health care and reproductive rights, freedom of speech and religion, and compassion for immigrants. There were so many reasons we marched and I couldn’t possibly read every sign.
The march renewed my faith in humanity for we are all in this together. Humanity is an ocean of compassion and a diverse sea of tolerance. I will swim in this benevolent sea of love forever!
As a side note, my blogging friend, Kris Cunningham, posted this video Look Beyond Borders. It touched me deeply and I am passing it on to you!