Monday, October 04, 2010

One Human Family

The adventure began in Austin, Texas.

(darn no pics..I'm having uploading issues) partner in crime in numerous exploits...including Odyssey of the Mind, parenting and various ministries....agreed to come with me to the Mills College Reunion in Oakland, Ca.   But when the shuttle dropped us off at the Southwest terminal in Austin....We began to panic.

We tried not too. (panic that is) Really..but wow. We had WAY underestimated the check-in and then there was the security line. The line which was literally snaking all over the airport.

And this is how Rhonda ended up accidentally (and it really was an accident) trying to bribe TSA so we could catch our flight. I won't go into too much detail here..but let's just say..that instead of being body searched and put on a no flight list..we luckily passed through security and made our flight in time.

Lucky us!

..and then the fun really began!

Laura picks us up at the airport. Actually, Laura picked us all up at airports and B.A.R.T. stations. Thank you  Laura.We enjoy catching up throughout the day. Later we pick up Mitra and Lisa. Christy will meet us at the hotel later.

We decide to wine and dine at Ceasar's ..or is it Cezar's?Over mojitos and something to eat (wow..I don't remember what we ate!). We talk. We catch up on family, jobs, relationships past and present. We discuss chickens, nurolinguistic programing and the quickly fading understanding of political discourse along bi-partisan lines. Essentially? We enjoy our inner geekiness in the company of old friends. refreshing.

The next morning (Saturday) we meet the rest of the motley crew at the alumnae house on campus. Where we eat, robe-up (for convocation) and schlep ourselves over to the concert hall. Still visiting. Now? We reminisce on strike stuff.

Delores Huerta is the convocation speaker. How awesome is that?! I hope, one day, to be as vibrant and effective with social justice as she is. She reminds us (after touching on various race, class and gender issues) that we are one human family. That it is our responsibility to provide compassionate justice and to defend our fellow human family members. I think she pretty much summed it all up with that.

Convocation ends with the women from this year's graduating class (2011) leading in the singing of the Mills traditional "Fires of Wisdom" . My peers and I realized we did not remember how to sing the tune..or most of the words.I am glad to know I was not the only slacker in the group. But we DID try.

The rest of our time is spent visiting the campus and then going out in the evening.

This time to Mua's. There are nine of us. Laura, Mitra, Lisa, Rhonda and myself are joined by Anissa, Leslie, Kim and Christy. We are almost all from Reinhardt turned into a Center for Public Policy . (i old bedroom? Now a classroom)We continue discussions from the day before..and add to our conversations memories from our years at Mills. Topping the list being skinny dipping, "borrowing" a car, a sea-monkey funeral and talking muffins. Geez I've missed these guys!

Rhonda and I cut out of the weekend early to return to Texas for a morning in a local mens prison.

At the prison we worship, commune, sing and pray with fellow brothers-in-white.

Our luxury of chocolate covered strawberries and champagne has quickly ended..and here we are eating prison food. The inmates remind us not to eat the meat. I eat sweet potatoes and a slice of bread.

After lunch I join Jack (Rhonda's husband) in a classroom with 22 brothers in white rehearsing. The English choir and the band. (Spanish choir is the next group) They are rehearsing for an upcoming Kairos weekend, as well as an upcoming graduation. I am struck by the lyrics of the song they have written for this GED graduation. proud of me.

Wow. If that's not telling. I don't know what is.

Less than 24 hours before I was in a small auditorium of women in a fairly elitist setting fumbling through words to "fires of wisdom". A setting where we encouraged each other..just for being. Now? I was in a class of grown men (a mix of former Bloods, Krytps, Aryan Brothers...) joining together to celebrate a GED graduation of their peers...singing " proud of me."

..and I remember the words of Delores Huerta. We are all one human family.

She is absolutely right.

Both of these communities represent extremes in our society. Yet they are much the same.

Both communites revolve around relationships formed.. We laugh, we cry...we bend the law. (I mean let's face-it. Skinny dipping and security car "borrowing"? If those things happen off campus they might be construed as indecent exposure and car theft!) Charming, eh? We play jokes. We sing. We dance. My brothers in Mills sisters..and everyone in between. We have everything different in common.

We are a human family.

(still darn no pics..still having uploading issues)

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