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It Starts When You Say We

It Starts When You Say We

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I've been struck, this season, by a desire to plunge into literature (my only home) and a re-examination of what it means to operate as a community, as a collective, in harmony with others, and even if (especially if) it means in secret concert with others towards social justice.This piece has within it the day of August 4, 1964. That was the day that the FBI found the bodies of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Mickey Schwerner and it was the same day HarryBelafonte heard SNCC needed at last $50,000 to survive. As the Mississippi Center for Investigative reporting puts it, "[Belafonte's] friend and fellow activist Sidney Poitier delivered $70,000 raised to the Mississippi Delta. When they landed at the Greenwood airport after dark, a pickup filled with white men pursued and rammed them. The two performers made it to their destination, delivering the money to keep Freedom Summer going. 'We knew if we never did another thing together,' Belafonte recalled, 'this was to be forever cherished.'"


As I was reminded of that day in 1964, I was also reading Marge Piercy's "The Low Road" in which the last stanza reads:


It goes on one at a time,

it starts when you care

to act, it starts when you do

it again and they said no,

it starts when you say We

and know you who you mean, and each

day you mean one more."


I hope for my own daughters to always understand that when I say "we" I mean, each day, one more.


unframed; 5.25w x 7.5h x 2d; tweed, cotton, tulle, satin, gold wire, wood beads

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