Me and 17 strangers

3:30 AM came mighty early on Sunday morning. But, the early awakening and driving in darkness was so worth it.

You see, I was preparing to walk toward my dream, to begin another phase of transformation.

So, at 5:30 AM, we began our journey from Newton, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C. To march, and to rally, for full and equal rights. Eighteen of us all together. Most of us had never met other people on the van, or in the two cars that were in the caravan. The ages ranged from eighteen up to women in their fifties and sixties. Some of us were there with friends, some with partners, some on their own. Some of us were allies, some were gay. Before that day, I had never met any of those on the van before.

What an adventure.

The main thing that we had in common at 5:30 AM, anticipating a ride of several hours to DC, was a desire to see justice come to be. To see full and equal rights. We may have each had a motivation that made it unique to ourselves, but the common cause was justice, equality, fairness, and civil rights.

Less than an hour into the trip, we began to share food that we all had collaborated in bringing along. One person brought brie cheese and lime flavored tortilla chips. Another couple brought homemade egg salad, bagels and bread. Yet another person brought candy corn and gumdrops. We had protein, carbs, fruit, drinks, and companionship.

By the time we were halfway to Washington, we knew additional aspects of life that we had in common. Pets. Children. Foods we enjoyed. Surviving cancer. Vacations. Causes. Friends.

What connects us as people is always so much more powerful than what divides us. It allows us to see the true spirit that shines from one another.

One of the most impacting stories of that day, among those that joined us, was in relation to the three teenage women that drove behind the van in their car. Samantha had left a note for her mother at 4:30 that morning, simply stating “I am going to change the world.” Those young women ended up coming with us after hearing about the march from a patron at K Mart the night before, one of our other fellow marchers.

All of them allies. All of them heterosexual, yet knowing that equality is equality, plain and simple.

By the time we pulled back into Newton, New Jersey at 2:00 AM Monday morning, I no longer thought of those other seventeen people as strangers. Rather, I had made seventeen new friends, comrades in arms, who will go forward with me on this journey toward full equality, in this battle for justice.

Our journey together has just begun.


5 thoughts on “Me and 17 strangers

  1. dear new friend vanessa…..WOW….we agree…we have embraced the spirits of those we rode with and will continue to carry them in our hearts…one day….SOON…finally the world will see and understand truth, fairness and it will become clear that we are not asking for anything MORE but will not settle for anything LESS….we already love you and can’t wait to continue the journey with you, your wife and child and the rest of our friends and families…peace and love ~ see you soon….and yes, HUGS too from kat & dar ;o)
    p.s…..would you like any more egg salad?…we have PLENTY! rof….

  2. Hayden: I am still fighting tears much of the time as I think about being there, and how it has changed me. Truth is the only way forward. Hugs, my dear friend!!!!

    Kim: That means the world to me.

    kat: Yes, we are friends, if not family, now. We will see each other soon for sure. And, I am so happy for you and Dar, in your life journey together. I DID make egg salad last night for Hannah with a bit of onion and with the Braun; I will see later what she thought!!! HUGS!!! Vanessa

    Helen: Mission accomplished! I am hoping to infuse the world with energy to go ever forward!!!! Hugging you back!! Vanessa

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