Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ten years ago

Ten years ago today I walked out of my job. I was 20 years old, had little baby dreadlocks, and was living in Fairbanks AK.

Before that day some friends and I started a group at the University- the Campus Coalition for Civil Liberties. We organized a march in downtown Fairbanks on March 15th that many people attended. We joined with other groups from town like No Nukes North and demonstrated at the federal courthouse. We gathered with other concerned Fairbanksans and protested the ramp up to the Iraq war on the corner of University and Geist road twice a week. We felt it was up to us to warn people of the very real threat of war in a country where we had no right to be in the first place. I was very outspoken about my beliefs back then.

I remember feeling crushed when the rockets were launched, when the . I immediately left work. Not the most responsible thing to do, but I felt compelled to leave... and I was not going to be welcomed back.
I did not know where to go, I felt alone and unsafe. I may have been very far from this violent action but I felt sick to my stomach and like the world had let me down. I was so disappointed.

At the time my favorite accoutrement at protests was a giant cardboard painting of a peace sign. That night I took the sign to an impromptu candlelight vigil at the Cushman Street bridge and when I left the vigil I went back to the corner of Geist and University rd and stood there...... holding my peace sign... heart broken.
An older man on crutches, haggard, with only one leg approached me. He looked at me, asked if I was ok, (I said I would be), and then..... and then he stood up as straight as he could and..... saluted me.
I started crying. He gave me a hug and continued on. 

Ten years have passed. TEN FREAKING YEARS!!!!
People suffered and continue to suffer from this anniversary.
I knew then that the country would never be the same... and I remember where I was that night.


  1. Oh yeah, I forgot to add- I did not write this to start a political conversation, so please do not assume this is a challenge to start one with me, thank you :)

  2. I remember that year, that month, that day. I cried into the night feeling totally defeated bu war. I remember thinking about how small and insignificant I felt. Before, all of our actions felt so big, like people were hearing us, like that maybe this global movement for peace would actually work. I officially stopped caring about high school after that day. My protesting ended shortly after as well and I have never been as politically active since. Were we just young and bright-eyed, or did we actually have a chance? Did we make a difference? Did we change people's minds? One thing I DO know is that the conversations we had with people, the security guard who DIDN'T arrest us at the Federal Court House, the friends we made, the movements we started (that march is still one of FBKS's most highly attended in this town's history) and the peace we made within ourselves and between each me, makes it all worth it. We stood up for peace when no one else would. We believed in peace when it seemed impossible. I learned so much about myself and my community. My biggest lesson from that time: think globally, act locally. Maybe that's why I graduated early, dropped my college classes and started working at local non-profits for the next 8 years. Together we can make ripples in the ocean of this world. Together we've made waves. I'm proud to have stood there by you, Schlo, and so many other good friends. You inspired me, and continue to do so, in so many ways. I love you and your peace-loving heart, so much.


  3. Thank you for those words Leah, they are truly beautiful and duly echoed in my heart. Word sister, word. I too stepped away from being politically active, I felt my heart could not bear the torture. BUT I love your comparison to making a difference locally! YES! And we did... we learned so much and made amazing connections.
    THANK YOU for writing this comment Leah. Love you always. Keep up the good fight :)