By Fatimah Islam-Hernandez
I have learned that when I want to have a powerful breakthrough in my life. I have to create a space, a clearing, so that my stand can be seen. No matter how unreasonable, no matter what fears I have. It is my own uncomfortability that will be an indicator that I am acting and standing for a change. Change never sprouts in a serene comfortable or dormant space it always, always evolves with active participation, beyond your previous limits. Extraordinary life is the result of extraordinary acts. I would like to thank Decarcerate PA for giving me a space, to stand in. The first two and a half days I participated in March to Harrisburg and march, I had the opportunity to push my ailing middle-aged body past the limitations of my mind and to feed a limitless spirit for change in our community.
I am marching for three reasons. I am an educator, so I am marching for my students, I am a single mother so I am marching for a better community for my children, and I have a loved one behind bars so I am marching from my heart for his life and his freedom. “Over 100 miles to Harrisburg" the look of disbelief, and amazement on the faces of people we met along the street tickled me at first... but when it was changed into concern as we empowered them with information, it moved me, it moved us all. I reflect on the conversations I had with myself, the conversations I had with fellow marchers... I began to notice something amazing!!! The entire group as a living body, as an organism of people was constantly adapting and shifting and morphing as we pushed forward. Our innate survival needs yielded many plans of action along the way... not just informing the public... but also learning was taking place within the actual group. We had never done this before it was new and difficult, exciting. We didn’t always know what was ahead. While as a teacher I couldn't help but to observe the lessons we gathered along the journey. I kept thinking it is these very lessons on our way to Harrisburg we are going to need to use as tools once we get to Harrisburg...and beyond. I began the march wide –eyed and innocently only thinking of giving to the cause... yet the march unexpectedly gave back to us........a guide for winning no matter what.
· Lesson 1
"You know when you're getting close.... because it's all uphill "Sarah"
Love and passion.... comes from the same place as pain and Irritability.
· Lesson 3
In the most threatening situations... it's always necessary to shout pull it in tight.... and walk together as one... line.
· Lesson 4
Moving backwards ... always makes you tired.
· Lesson 5
if a hot spot goes ignored ...it always changes into a blister
(Schools before prisons)
· Lesson 6
If your drive is bigger than your limits... You can always find someone to push and coach you for the last 100 yards (thank you Becca)
· Lesson 7
Just when you think you know all there is to say...someone gives you more (An 11 yr old boy from the street chanted “Stop locking up our youth.... walk the block with us”)
(Guys outside of barber shop says tell the governor "give us a job so we don't rob)
· Lesson 8
Sometimes you have to send in different teams to get done what needs to be done
· Lesson 9
On my last day, in my last hour of marching... as I took my last steps a ladybug landed on my shoulder... The universe understands the laws of miracles and will always give you a sign when you are being apart of a blessing.
· Lesson 10.
Throughout the march we were free to stop.... to have pow-wows to create new strategies for pushing through... Everyone had a voice and was heard... even when we were tired and in pain and didn't want to listen... you were still encouraged to speak freely.... So lesson 10 is clear
Freedom is a natural right.... not a man- made privilege.
Thank you DPA