Lighting the Torch

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This fabulous silk screen was presented to me by a young woman who’s art work I cherish. It is her representation of the Women’s March last January. I love it. But more importantly, I love what it represents. Youth raising their voices in creative, artistic ways.

This morning I had the honor to meet with three young woman who go to our local high school. They are members of a local Peace camp. I’m not sure if they realize it yet but they are also community organizers. This morning they quietly, respectfully, and politely made that cross over. And I was so proud of them. So honored to, as Gloria Steinem would say, “light their torches.”

We met before school. (What teenager gets up early to meet before school anyway?! These ambitious young women do, that’s who.) The focus of our meeting was to discuss the upcoming Equality Rally our town is having in a few weeks. They want to be a part. Oh, such sweet music to my ears. Really, when you think about it, they, the youth, should be on center stage. I’ve been to rallies before and I noticed that many of them are led by the community elders. While there is inherently nothing wrong with that, I think it’s time to light the torches of the youth so they can rise up and have their voices heard. I’m sure I am not alone in wanting to hear them.

We spoke about their camp experiences, their classes, and activities that are designed to help them lift their voices for those with less power. They discussed lessons that stood out to them. At first they were shy, not quite sure what to share. But then they began, oh and did they share! As I sat there listening, watching their cheeks redden, and their voices rise, I realized I was in my happy place. With kids who had something to say and were willing and able to say it. They gave me hope, pride, and joy. As they spoke a thread appeared in their discussion, trust. But trust only after initial mistrust and insecurity. We discussed that. We discussed how they got to a place of trust and how that trust changed their feelings about what was happening, about themselves, and about their work. “That’s it! That’s what we want to share!”

As the bell rang and they got antsy to get to class I thanked them for their time, energy, and commitment, and then got up to leave. As I left the room I enjoyed hearing bits and pieces of their conversation as they eagerly huddled up discussing their plans. I can not wait to hear what they have to say.

Peace my friends and may we relish the task of lighting the torches of our youth,

Mary

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