The thirty-five young adults of the Right to Marry campaign have gathered in Albany after driving up from New York City in staggered caravans. As one can expect with the convening of that many people in one city from across the country, some arrived early and some arrived late. Some finally put their heads to a pillow at 5 o’clock in the morning.
Today we started our training. In these three days, we need to cover a wealth of information before we hit the road on Tuesday, from talking points to group building to grounding ourselves within nonviolence. I have been with Soulforce for over two years, but I always benefit from relearning and re-examining my integrity and cultivation of the principles of nonviolence.
On the Right to Marry campaign, there is a stronger political component than previous young adult campaigns. So my question is how I reconcile that nonviolence calls me to be patient, to detach myself from immediate expectations, and to see our conversations as a process on a long continuum rather than a point-counterpoint style of debate in which each side tries to win points. In theories of nonviolence, we talk often of ‘the third way,’ meaning that a reconciliatory solution is not one-sided victory but forming a new community around a new vision of how life can be. Not your way, not my way, but our way. I feel I am going to learn ‘the third way’ for many of the tasks on this campaign.
Tonight I am polishing the documents we are printing for use out on the road. Right now I am tweaking the format of bookmark that explains the Right to Marry campaign and has quick reference to key facts that support marriage equality. The usefulness of it may extend the presence of Soulforce Q and the eight or so young adults who stopped off in, say, Binghamton, New York for a day to share their stories and affirm the need for equality.