...a slogan of the peace movement that is applicable in many areas of social change such as environmental work.
I had the opportunity to day to hear the tail end of a talk by Cindy Sheehan at my local Unitarian Universalist Church, and this was her mantra and message....so much of which could be applied to making changes in adoption thinking and practices.
I've met Cindy before at marches in DC, prior to the infamous Crawford, Texas camp out. Cindy is one of my idols: an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things. She is in a class with the Mothers in the Plaza de Mayo, Candy Lightner founder of MAADD, and Maureen Kanaka who established Meghan's Law in memory of her daughter. Each of these women were ordinary mothers when tragedy took their child from them. Each of them made it their life's work to eradicate the source of that harm so that no other mothers would ever suffer the pain of losing another child needlessly. They are my heroines and role models.
Cindy said today that every school that allows military recruiters had to likewise allow anti-recruiters or truth-in-recruitment advocates. If they won't she said, set up a table outside the school, on the lawn. Of course I immediately thought of school kids being brainwashed to give away their babies. Who can ever forget the case of the teen and her mom fighting desperately to overturn an adoption she was talked into when a school guidance counselor sent her to an adoption agency for "counseling"?
Cindy spoke of the importance - as many of us have experienced - of our every day one-on-one conversations with people. It's not easy. Who amongst us cannot recall "Hanoi" Jane Fonda -- who I have also had the pleasure of meeting at a woman's conference -- getting spat at for her anti-war actions. Many Americans are very tied to the idea that favoring peaceful non-violent solutions is somehow less democratic and unsupportive of our troops, tghoughI have yet to meet a solitary peace activist who does not support our troops and want the home safely.
This kind of demonizing of others' views is not unlike those who think that being against profiteering in adoption and being against unwarranted, coerced adoptions means advocating to allow abused children stay in dangerous situations. Both are equally preposterous and polarizing UNTRUE of the opposition's view position.
I was encouraged today. I was reminded that each and every person we speak to as individuals, we have a chance of enlightening beyond the rhetoric. In the audience of this talk was an outspoken Veteran Against the War. Are we not adoptions separation survivors and "veterans"?
Cher said recently about her child Chaz's impending sex reassignment surgery: "I do not understand but I will strive toward understanding." Let's each be ambassadors and help others strive to understand our pain and loss and prevent future unnecessary losses.
We were once silenced by society, our parents, the times, our religious leaders. . . we are no longer scared or young or powerless. In standing tall and speaking out against adoption injustices, we can be role models for our sons and our daughters - raised and not raised by us -- and their sons and daughters.
We need to speak out even if our voice trembles, and are knees are weak.