My speech for the Friday Harbor Women’s March

This is the speech for the Friday Harbor Women’s March I wrote in the hospital my first couple of days in Seattle. I was getting chemo, but it hadn’t really hit yet.

If you would rather hear this than read it, here is the link.

This was the introduction:

“I am standing in support with all my Salish Sea Protectors, lovers of the islands, women and men of my community! Thank you for representing me here, along with the future of our planet.”

The recording opens in the middle of the first paragraph. Here it is, so it makes sense to you: 

“The last ten weeks have left us without illusions. It has been painful, but the gift is that we have woken up. At Standing Rock, there came a time when they realized that no one was going to save them. It’s just us, they reported. And that’s enough. This is a time to remember: We ARE the ones we have been waiting for.”

(Now if you go to the recording, it will pick up from there.)

Women’s March, Friday Harbor, January 21, 2017

Shann Weston’s speech

Read by and collaborated with Kari Koski

The last ten weeks have left us without illusions. It has been painful, but the gift is that we have woken up. At Standing Rock, there came a time when they realized that no one was going to save them. It’s just us, they reported. And that’s enough. This is a time to remember: We ARE the ones we have been waiting for.

It is good that we can draw energy and strength from native people, who are rising all over the world. The simple and profound message that “water is life” is the exact opposite of the message that we only get ahead by extraction of the earth’s resources and not caring what we destroy in the process.

From the Hopi Nation, an Elder speaks:

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.  And there are things to be considered.

  • “Where are you living?

We live together on islands in the center of the magnificent Salish Sea, our beloved home.

  • What are you doing?

What are you doing to protect your precious home?

  • What are your relationships?
  • Are you in right relation?

The time for the lone wolf is gone, he tells us. See who is there with you and celebrate.

  • Where is your water?

Fresh water, saltwater, ground water, rainwater, tears, blood equals life.

  • Know your garden.

Touch the land with loving hands. Be in service to the garden of island. Support local organic agriculture.

  • It is time to speak your Truth.

“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” Maggie Kuhn penned this fine quote. She did not take up activism until she was “retired’, founding the Gray Panthers at age 65. The best age for activism is your age. We are strongest when we are intergenerational.

  • Create your community.

Here we are, gathered and powerful. Don’t go back to sleep.

  • Be good to each other.

And find ways to step outside your bubble.

  • Do not look outside yourself for the leader.

Be willing also not to always be a leader. We need to move together like flying geese, sharing leadership as the light shines on our skills.

Undeniably, we have entered troubled waters. We can learn a lot from Resistance and Underground movements. In every occupied country, people use a variety of means to fight back authoritarian and violent regimes, visibly and invisibly. Take the time to learn about them. It’s very inspiring to be reminded how people fight to be free.

As a friend recently calculated, there are 1,461 days in a 4-year presidential term. This is a call for 1,461 days of action, visible and invisible, that support our democracy. This is our new normal- we have to redefine politics as daily engagement in actions that uphold our institutions and laws protecting our freedoms and rights, including the rights to have equality, justice, clean air, clean water, and a sustainable future free from fossil fuel dependency.

Our Declaration of Independence reminds us that:

‘’these truths are self-evident, that all Persons are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among The People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The People means US. Government derives powers from US. This is a call for our constant engagement to either give or withhold our consent.

Let us not use the words like struggle and fear. Feel the grief but empower yourself with action. We stand up because water is life. Air is life. Earth is life. We stand up for our homes and our families and our place out of love. We stand up for our animal and tree nations and all human nations out of love. It is a celebration because we work with others. We stand up because human rights, strong participation and support for a free press, are essential for democracy. Have an eagle eye for what’s happening, and take action everyday, make the phone calls and write the letters, get involved with politics, run for local office, support the organizations that defend human rights and environmental protections. Create your own activism. Stretch out your arms. It is time to work together.

We are meant for these times.

What are YOU doing for the Revolution?

 

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