I still like having birthdays. Mine falls the day before the vernal equinox, the official start of spring. I loved hearing from several of my long-time friends, and more recent ones. too. Also heard from all the birds singing.
I had a good start to the day at the gym.
Then I went to Hartford to support an immigrant who was having an asylum hearing. There were about a dozen of us there, in the waiting room, and then the judge called us into court and said he took note that she had a lot of community support. Mike, one of the regular advocates, said this judge is the best one could hope for, that he actually seems fair and compassionate. I was impressed but immediately thought that he’s propping up a rotten system. Mike told me a story of a prosecutor who attended a talk about immigrants’ rights at the prosecutor’s church, and it was clear that he was sympathetic. Mike said even if the system is rotten, it’s better to have compassionate people in those positions than not.
In the evening I went to a screening of the HBO documentary, Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland. It was incredibly powerful, including cell phone video of her encounter with the cop who stopped her, interviews with the Texas district attorney and the sheriff in the lock-up where she died, intimate interviews with her family, and clips of her own YouTube posts called Sandy Speaks, where she talked about fighting police brutality, why Black Lives Matter, and the need for both black and white people to have more friends of the other race.
Her sister, Sharon Cooper, who was prominently featured in the film, was on a panel afterward, along with two local community organizers, the head of the ACLU of CT and a New Haven cop in charge of Internal Affairs, who explained some NHPD procedures. Sharon said she really appreciated his participation and that it highlighted the importance of not generalizing that all cops are the enemy – although one of the local panelists said her goal was to abolish all police departments, as they had their beginnings in slave patrols and still mostly serve that purpose today, targeting African Americans. One of the panelists called for the white people in the audience to go beyond being supporters to being co-conspirators, to face with them what they have to face in our racist society, and change it.
I plead guilty to being too quick to pigeonhole people and write them off, when it would be more productive to engage them, unless they’re hopeless like Trump and his ilk.
On March 15 I went to the Connecticut Youth Climate Strike in Hartford, organized by teens and attended by some adults as well. It was part of a global youth climate strike inspired by Swedish phenom Greta Thunberg. The rally was, not surprisingly, extremely energetic and fun, though the message was somber. I’ve noticed that young people tend to mention the dangerous impacts on other species, including extinction, more than adults, which to me bespeaks a greater biophilia. Afterward some right-wingers claimed the kids were manipulated by adults with their own “agenda.” I don’t know if they really believed that, but to hear the young people refute it was just more proof of how well-informed and well-organized they are. The photo above is from the event.
Around midnight I went outside to walk under the full moon. I always think that after humans (some disastrously way more than others) have wrecked our beautiful planet, the moon will still rise and fall, and shine, and it gives me a perhaps strange sense of peace.