They planned a multi-cultural set of speakers on a range of issues.
Why did they ask me? To welcome a representative from the Jewish community.
And because I am a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada. Thus, I’m aware of the political issues that sparked the original 2017 women’s march. And also of human rights issues in Canada today.
Finally, they invited me because I’m a clergy person. So, I offered closing words and blessed the group.
Here are my remarks:
How great it is when all of us join together! (Psalm 133)
I was born in the USA. But fifteen years ago, I was welcomed as a resident of Canada.
Together with all of you, I’ve watched the United States change.
…lies and propaganda replace the news.
…hate and discrimination erupt on the streets.
…mass incarceration by race and class increase.
…casual abuse of women and children accepted as a fringe benefit of power.
All encouraged by greedy corporate and criminal leaders. They cannot wait to divide and conquer us.
But, eight weeks ago, I became a citizen of Canada. So, I was elated! I’m safe, I thought. It can’t happen here.
But of course it CAN happen here. Because it DOES happen here.
If you are…
…Indigenous anywhere in Canada, you know greedy corporations steal land and justify it by vilifying you.
…an LGBTQ+ person in Alberta, you know that violent hate crimes against you are on the rise.
…a Muslim in Quebec or a Jew in British Columbia, you know that hateful propaganda pushes people to shoot into your mosques and fire-bomb your synagogues.
We all know…how a government, unchecked, consolidates power.
By speaking of “us” and “them.”
Sowing irrational fear.
Presenting equality and freedom — especially gender equality and religious freedom — as threats to social order.
Inviting us to buy in, bit by bit, to the loss of human rights. Only for others, at first. But, eventually, for all of us.
All of us are at risk.
So let’s act, together. It’s not so hard. There’s a place for every skill set!
We can respond to suffering. And begin to build the community we would like to see.
Start today! Meet and greet as we march. Make new friends. Then, exchange contact information. Plan new alliances.
In our Jewish tradition, we speak of God as the infinite possibility that draws people to reach for change. We feel this possibility in nature, in community, and in hope. Maybe you do, too.
May the Infinite bless us all today with the power of hope and community.
Image: Local Habonim-Dror youth assemble for the women’s march. So wonderful to see — and to hear them cheer for me!