Photo courtesy of TheDreamReborn And a bit more on the emotional content of the Dream Reborn… The panel (Stones of Hope in a Mountain of Despair) was heartwrenching, Mary Anne from the Appalachian (apple-at-cha is the way to say it) mountain region gave us the visual journey from mountaintop removal to where we were sitting in Memphis; then Kandi from Indigenous Environmental Network opened her heart to tell us about trying to bring Indigenous made solar panels to her community; i spoke about the rampant spiritual burn-out that happens when people are struggling for alternatives and don’t have the structural community and solidarity needed, and hyped the Indigenous People’s Power Project out of The Ruckus Society, how its time to stop having top down national campaigns and instead have national investment in ground up campaigns; how its time to move beyond protest to visionary actions that show what we want. We broke folks up into groups where they developed lists of economic alternatives to fossil fuels, which we depend on to fuel our lives or sell our future to profit off fossil fuels’ present value. Bringing it back to questions and a close, Mary Anne reminded us of hope, Kandi let us know carbon sequestering is a false solution, and I suggestion that How we get there is actually the very essence of the work. But the real power happened hours later, on the dance floor in the Convention Center, under the guidance of Mike Molina and Ashel. Artists and poets from all over (Oakland was reppin so hard) graced the stage, there was some drama and some peacemaking, Rha Goddess soothed souls, and then the Hot 8 Brass Band came out and released us from our bodies and boundaries, reminded us that we were water which they could wring out of our writhing flesh, and we worked, shook, jiggled, dropped, screamed, and followed them, followed them to the center of the dance floor, followed them out to the hallway and down the stairs wall-to-wall dancing and stepping and wailing as one, right out into the streets of Memphis, where the energy was already hot with the victory of the Memphis Tigers tonight. Whenever I doubt that we can be unified, that we can move together with our differences respected and intact, I simply need to get to a dance floor where the Hot 8 Brass Band is releasing the spirit and watch people move. We love each other so much in movement, we share our unique regional, traditional, instinctual selves in the dance. Who is without tradition, without soul, without a home fundamentally of this earth with her rhythms, calling on us to dance and sing and save her? We took this dance to Beale Street, and formed circles in the middle of the street where Memphis joined us in that total freedom of expression, and I saw glimpses all night of my dream in those moments when we stopped thinking of ourselves as many, and began to understand the essence of wholeness. Wholeness that includes not only all of us in our color, shape, size, background, education, sexuality, gender, ability and rhythm…but each part of each of us, each of us in our place of justice and full power and in our own transformational wholeness. I know its mystical to speak of it, but breathe in and you take me into you, breathe out and your most intimate and softest breath covers me. I saw glimpses of what it is like when we stop seeing each other as competition, and begin to understand ourselves to be family, accountable to each other, never leaving each other. You are here with us, if your body is not here, Martin. We are not struggling over how to protest now, but how to vision…what an evolution, what a precipice! I think now I must sleep, because tomorrow morning my friends Evon, Karl, Jakada and Rachel are all amongst the speakers and I want to hear their dreams, want to hear where there is action in them. The song in my heart? I may not get there with you but you will know that I was here This is the only way home I know that we shall overcome We are the Dream Generation We are the Dream Reborn The cynic is off for the night and the dreamer is in the house, dancing, screaming, all in. Much love!
By Adrienne Maree Brown Apr 06, 2008