Years ago I stood on the Brooklyn Bridge at night and made a promise to myself that I would someday live in New York City. I was a visitor then and the beauty of the sparkling city lights and the waves far below dancing in their reflection made me love this place. It is one of the most beautiful places in the United States and I hope someday you experience it.
Last night, I stood on the same bridge beneath a full moon, with friends and family. There were children in strollers, small kids, young adults, middle ages folk, and elders. Each one answering a call to do something more than just despair. Each one held a sparkling sign that I and a small group of Quakers had made or taught them to make on their own.
Our little working group, called Quaker Activists, had pulled together this second “light action” around all our too-busy work schedules. We walked in silence from the Brooklyn Meeting House, under police escort (we had gotten a permit to march) and immediately were greeted with smiles and camera phones. Yana, in a lighted body suite carrying a lighted dove led the way. Over twenty signs and 30 people followed. A few young women played their Ukuleles and softly sang. I helped my good friend Wayne carry a large sign that read “Unite.” Robin carried a sign that read love light. Nadine walked with her wife and kids and carried a sign their young son, Sam, thought of that said Kind is Cool. Maryland carried a BLM ( Black Lives Matter) sign bringing up the back.
People applauded us from inside restaurants, drivers honked their horns, bike riders stopped to say “good job”. As we approached the bridge, tourist from all over the world started recording video and taking photos. We walked in silence letting the lights do the communicating. People thanked us when we thanked them for filming us. We handed out a one page paper that explained that we marched AGAINST hate and FOR being the light - Light we all hunger for in these dark times.
One Spanish speaking couple borrowed a sign that said love in Spanish and held it over their head and kissed for a photo. Drivers in their cars honked their horns and filmed with their cameras. Families and groups of tourists simply stopped and filmed us walking by.
At the last set of stone arches nearest Manhattan we stopped and sang “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” I turned to see one of the NYC Policemen who had escorted us singing along.
Last night, I stood on the Brooklyn Bridge not as a dreaming visitor, but as an invested New Yorker. I stood with a small conspiracy of good people drawn together by warmth and hope that came from each other, from the light inside each of us.
For a moment, on the Brooklyn Bridge, the sparkling lights of lower Manhattan, and the full moon, took a back seat to our sparkling signs and simple voices making this place the most beautiful place in America.
We will march again and invite you to join us. But where ever you are, push back the dark and let your light shine.