by Cindy brookshire
Last night I was at a city council meeting. Typically, a handful of people are in the chambers. Me, I’m usually live streaming it on my computer at home while I multitask. Not last night. I was there and the place was standing room only, with TV cameras panning the crowd and reporters interviewing people during a break.
The council was getting ready to vote on a measure that singled out women’s health clinics for special use permits. But first, citizen’s time. I was one of more than 25 speakers against the resolution. More than 80 spoke in favor of it. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. But sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe.
That’s something Katherine and I have in common. In fact, we met at the height of the immigration debate in Prince William County (CLICK HERE to watch the documentary 9500 Liberty in its entirety). She was posting on blogs and speaking at Board of County Supervisor meetings. I was leading a project called “Prince William Study Circles” with Unity in the Community that led to Neighborhood Improvement Circles in the City of Manassas.
Both of us were invited to a weekend workshop sponsored by George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. We met at Point of View, a scenic property near a waterfront; very peaceful, with lots of space to walk around. We did exercises together and at the end we stood in this circle outside and one of the facilitators broke a GMU cup and gave us each a piece to take home.
Now, years later, I can look back and see that everyone who stood in that circle at Point of View has gone on to achieve something significant in our community. Every one of us has spoken out and become a recognizable voice.
Someday, when I’m gone, my spouse or my children will be going through my office and they’ll open the shoebox where I keep the odds and ends that I collect. They have no meaning to anyone except to me.
They just might find a broken piece of a GMU cup.
Cindy Brookshire blogs at www.cookies4nataka.wordpress.com.