I did end up taking Chase and Kenna out of school to participate in Play in Peace Day. I’m hoping that they absorbed some community spirit and pride in what children can accomplish. They spent quite a bit of time playing, and seemed bored by the speeches and poems that made me cry. But that’s part of being a kid, right? I know that I was bored listening to the conversations between my mother and grandmother, but now those are some of my favorite childhood memories.
For Play in Peace Day, I picked both Kenna and Chase up from school. Since it was lunchtime for both of them, we headed over to Stadium Thriftway to grab some food. They each got chicken tenders and a side (cheese for Kenna and clam chowder for Chase). We lunched at a picnic table in Wright Park while I listened to the speeches. The kids were eager to head off to the play areas, and Chase was on the lookout for his friend, Adam. I wasn’t surprised when Kenna found her friend Grace first – she’s quite the social creature.
After a while, it was time to start the march over to McCarver Park. A huge crowd of people, led by Jason Lee’s drumline, headed over to 6th Avenue and up to MLK. Traffic was blocked off and the kids were quite impressed that the traffic had to wait for all of us to pass.
As we were marching, there were intermittent instances of chanting from teachers and kids:
What do we want?
When do we want it?
I thought it was moving. As we marched, people lined the streets to watch us and wave. People joined us. I know there were some people who were annoyed that they couldn’t cross MLK during the march, but quite a few of the stopped cars waved and smiled.
I thought about other communities and other movements. I thought about women’s’ rights and civil rights. I thought about people coming together to bring issues to light. People coming together to change their worlds. I thought about all the people who made this happen, and how this movement – this march – this community was driven by children. I may have teared up a bit.
After a substantial walk in glorious sunshine, we arrived at the new park. The program involved singing and poetry and writing from children and community members alike. Zina Linnik’s family was in attendance. The park is beautiful and the ceremony dedicating it in Zina’s memory was well-thought-out.
I really wanted to have the kids stay with me and listen to all the inspiring commentary, but they were bored and hot (how is it possible to be hotter when sitting still than when running and playing? I’ll never understand). So I let them go enjoy the playground. And re-fill their new water bottles as much as they want. Some of what went on will sink in by osmosis, right?