Sole Sister: Susie of Arabia
Event: Peace March in Washington DC
I have always considered myself a hippie, even though my real hippie days are far behind me. But that flower child spirit and dreams of peace in our world have always remained in my heart. So when my good friend Connie called to suggest that we participate in a Peace March in Washington DC that was scheduled for the last weekend of January 2007, I jumped at the chance.
She would be flying in from California and I would be coming from Florida, and we would rendezvous at the hotel she was able to reserve just a few blocks from the Capitol Building at a fabulous travel agent’s rate. In preparation for the trip, my assignment was to make several Peace posters that we could wave and hold up, and Connie prepared for another special assignment that was planned for the event called “Walk in Their Shoes.”
Thousands and thousands of peaceful protesters, representing hundreds of organizations like Code Pink, the Raging Grannies, and United for Peace and Justice, converged on Washington DC on that chilly weekend in January. Aerial estimates calculated the number of protesters in the hundreds of thousands. The participants ranged in age from babies and children to teenagers, middle aged, and elderly.
Most of the demonstrations and speeches and the march itself took place that Saturday. Among the noted speakers at the National Mall with the Capitol Building looming in the background were Congressman John Conyers, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Jess Jackson, and actors Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Jane Fonda. We were all there united for a cause, in pursuit of peace, and in objection to the war.
We thought that finding the shoes that Connie had tagged and brought might be an impossible task. But somehow miraculously we found them, amidst the sea of shoes, each pair a sad reminder of an innocent Iraqi life lost. I can’t quite explain the feeling that came over me, realizing that the hopes and dreams of so many thousands of people were gone, many just babies who never had a chance in this world, and some entire families just wiped out.
It was a profound experience that I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of. It gave me a different outlook on my own existence and I often stop myself and see people now as if I were walking in their shoes. I wish more people in this world would do that. I think the world would be a happier and more compassionate place if we did…