Today, we set out on the road. Our formal training as a group has been completed, we’ve all spent some quality time together getting to know each other, and our sense of dedication to our objective has been refined and strengthened. I know that personally, these last few days have been most valuable not for the knowledge imparted – though I’ve learned so much that I wonder if my brain can contain it all – but for the sense I’ve gained that my comrades on this journey are all talented, passionate and extremely hardworking individuals.
Better than that, I can honestly say that the Central Van already considers itself to be a group of good friends. As I sit here typing, most of them are in the kitchen of the church that has generously provided us with hospitality, preparing a meal (I’m out here because one, we still have some research to do before tomorrow’s meetings, and two, you really don’t want me in a kitchen if you can at all avoid it.) Breaking bread together binds a group tighter, and so I’m taking this meal as a sign of a good beginning.
Thinking about how excited I am about working with this unique group of individuals, I do have to pause to reflect on this morning, when the entire group of the SoulForce “Right to Marry” campaign went our separate ways – I’m going to miss the people on the other vans. One van set out early this morning, while the other three first journeyed to New York’s capitol building in Albany. While we were there we met with the local press to discuss our campaign and to take a few photos…and then it was time to say good-bye for now, and to eagerly await coming back together in New York City, with many a story to tell.
(Several hours later.)
During training, my mantra was “know your enemy; know yourself; love your enemy as yourself.” Since getting on the road, I’ve added a second slogan – “TIA: this is activism.” Accidentally drive an hour north into the Adirondacks instead of west on your way to Syracuse? Enjoy the scenery; this is activism. It’s midnight, you have no internet access, and you desperately need information on the lawmakers you’re meeting with tomorrow? Get out there and find some free wireless; this is activism.
That was the situation we found ourselves in last night, and so Julia and I hopped into the van for an exploratory mission into small town New York. We found a local Paneras, parked, and enjoyed the sound of gentle rainfall as we hunted for directions to Senator Valesky’s office, his districts demographics and other vital information. What does it say about you when that sort of thing is an adrenaline rush?
I don’t know, but it just seemed to suit the trip so far. If something needs to happen, we find a way to make it happen. In New York, we see a need for marriage equality – it’s time to make that happen, too. This is activism.