Yesterday morning, I walked briskly from my home over to the local Common to attend the Rally For Love, organized by a fifteen-year-old high school girl whom I can’t help but admire. After her opening speech, city officials and candidates for the city council spoke, some with more sincerity than others. Standing on the thick grass, I found myself rocking blissfully side-to-side to the rhythm of Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” read by a candidate, J.F., who I am actively supporting for councilor-at-large. I enjoyed networking with many new people, bonding over our intolerance of intolerance and love of our little city. About two hundred people attended this event, dwarfed by the crowd of 40,000 or so gathering down in Boston at the very same time. At the latter happening, most demonstrated their anti-bigotry to far fewer haters, who had arrived in hopes of drumming up another Charlottesville level of enthusiasm. It turned out to pretty much be a no go. Many arrests had occurred, unfortunately (27, I believe), but at least no deaths or injuries, thank the gods.
Later, after most of the attendees had left, J.F. kindly introduced me to the mayor. Now, this is a man who carries baggage, some most recently being his having not rigorously denounced people for sanctioning sexist, mean floats in a local neighborhood parade on the 4th of July, floats attacking a private female citizen, no less. This woman, a friend of mine, had dared to challenge the float committee for allowing the making and parading of racist floats (e.g., “Gorilla Lives Matter”) last year, to which she had been responded to with outright defamation of her character. Nonetheless, I set those concerns aside for a bit and spoke to the mayor as a resident and local small business owner. I told him how I remember him in the state legislature back in 1998 or ’99, when he was supportive of a certain social services bill I advocated for passage and his helpful stance against a proposed bill outlawing gay marriage in Massachusetts. He shared with me a bit about his political career and about my own ward city councilor, who I had briefly met a little earlier. I told the mayor how it was nice to meet him and that I and others would be pushing him hard with concerns, challenging him a lot. He said he expected this and we parted ways, with me feeling glad to have broken the ice, putting me on his radar screen again, this time more lastingly, I hoped.
Before leaving the Common, I strategized a little with J.F. I offered to canvass on her behalf in my (and her) ward whenever she wanted to start that next phase of her campaign. I also suggested we meet sometime to practice how she would answer questions about issues that residents will surely put to me after I knock on their doors. She kindly agreed and I left for home, a sense of clarity coming forth about how I would help her out in the months ahead. And I do look forward to walking around the entire ward in which I live, getting a deeper sense of this large section of downtown.
I feel I’m getting started with a new chapter in my life, committing myself to getting to know my new hometown more and figuring out how I can actively contribute to making it an even better place for everyone. What comes to mind for me is starting school, figuring out what courses to take, how to manage my time with classes, studying, and working. Only school now is the school of life, whereby activities I choose to engage in and learn from are the classes. I need to stay mindful about maintaining a good balance, attending lovingly to my marriage and work with my clients while contributing realistic time and energy to other endeavors, such as Ms. F.’s campaign for city councilor and starting to attend city council meetings shortly after I return from vacationing in California. At least, this is my stated intention. The beginning of autumn feels right to embark on new ventures. I’m ready to start applying social work in other ways, via engaging again in city government, which I haven’t done at all since I lived just outside of Boston in the late ’90s and early 2000s. I’m planting my flag now, digging my heels in where I live as a homeowner and work in my own business. The Resistance is local.