Back to the 'Nati
I just got back to my beloved Cincinnati from the Fast & Vigil, an event that managed to be educating, inspiring, and fun all at the same time. Beth mentioned that some people had asked about us Ohioans, so here are some thoughts on the weekend. First, on the educating part...
Each night, I heard amazing people tell their stories. Murder victims' family members and exonerees alike shared their experiences, feelings, and hopes with us. And though these two groups of people have endured very different experiences, they shared such similar sentiments, for they have all had to overcome hatred and search for healing in one way or another. It was humbling just to be in the presence of these men and women, and it really inspired me to spread their message to more people...
which brings me to the inspiring part. In addition to these speakers, I met so many people who are dedicating their lives to the movement to abolish the death penalty. The organizers and participants of the Fast & Vigil came from diverse places in every sense of the phrase. Their unique careers, religions, ethnicities, and experiences contributed to the small but strong community formed these past few days. People have been brought to this movement for so many reasons, and that gives me hope that anyone on this earth can and will eventually realize what a broken and irreparable justice system we currently have in this nation. Though we certainly didn't receive 100% support from the passersby, I was encouraged by the moments of respectful dialogue that occurred. One man signed the petition and said, "I'm behind you all. I'm a conservative, and I totally support you." For me, he represented a growing number of people from across the political spectrum who are joining the fight for abolition.
And last, but certainly not least, the Fast & Vigil was FUN! When you and a stranger have nothing to do but hold a banner for hours at a time, you will get to know each other by the end of those few hours. It was great to meet everyone, to hear their stories, and to be re-energized by their devotion to ending the death penalty. The spirit of hope and non-violence was alive and well throughout the event, and I am so grateful for being able to spend just a few days with each of them.
A special thanks for all those who work so hard to organize the Fast & Vigil each year. Your work is already changing hearts and minds, and I await the day when we can all have the biggest party of our lives (next to Beth & Abe's wedding, I'm guessing) when we see abolition become the law in our nation.
And finally (sorry this ended up being quite a bit longer than I planned), congratulations to Beth and Abe; you are such wonderful parents, and I wish you a long life of many joys together. Eat, drink, and celebrate tonight!
Peace & joy,