Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 2

Joined the small group from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and St Peter's Church (as my host is affiliated with this group) and we met up with the rally right in front of the seminary. The USSF Marshal told us to join just past the globe -- the giant inflated balloon - that has been present at each social forum. So as we walked right alongside the balloon, I soon noticed that perhaps one of the girls carrying one corner of the balloon needed a little relief so I volunteered to take her place. It was heavy!! But happy to, for a change, carry the world on my shoulders.

Turns out the young woman was with the Transition movement in Madison, Wisconsin...working in a farming coop.

Go to the USSF website to see the hundreds of groups represented. As I was marching, a young Pinay woman in front of me was with a group, WES PAC, from New York. I asked her if she has seen other PInays, she said she hasn't...but that she would like to see more representation of Fil Ams at the forum.

I'm glad I'm here.  The leaders of the USSF march included the Native communities from the metropolitan Detroit area and beyond. They also blessed the opening ceremonies with their ritual song and dance and prayer. However, the plenary hall was packed with folks who were socializing and meeting up with their crews and so it felt like the Indigenous Rituals were not truly respected. Yes, there were attentive folks in the audience but for the most part, there was just too much excitement in the air. Not that these rituals need to be solemn or anything....but people should be respectful.

There were greetings from various sectors of Detroit including a Filipina poet, Aurora Harris. Bill Copeland, a local poet who is battling cancer (I was told) and waiting for a kidney transplant, delivered his famous "Breathe In, Breathe Out" poem. Hip hop took center stage as well as other performing groups.

Finally saw some Pinay sisters from Gabriela...only because one was sporting a babaylan tattoo in Baybayin. When I introduced myself to Claudia, she asked 'did you write a book about decolonization?" and I said yes and she jumped up from her seat to hug me. Sweet. Gabriela will be doing their workshop tomorrow Wed. Also saw Riya working as a volunteer as a door watcher at Cobo Hall. Muki texted but we haven't met yet.

Early day tomorrow starting with an Indigenous Water Ceremony at 8am....

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