I took a stand in activism the other day, and I was pretty proud of myself. There's a plot of land out here by the bay which hasn't yet been claimed by park services with strict rules laid upon it, or bought by a corporation to 'redevelop' into landscaped soccer fields. I went to a meeting with a friend who had enlightened my boyfriend and me to the dangers this land now finds itself in from said threats.
I hadn't visited the plot of land since I moved here, so I decided that I would make my way over there before the meeting so I knew what I was fighting for. It turns out to be a place unlike any I have ever seen. There was driftwood art, randomly scattered throughout nature left wild on the little peninsula. There were paths lined by rebar and concrete piles, creatively arranged, and people in tents, actually living there. These people were friendly enough to the random people who walked their dogs, went for a jog, and took a stroll along the bay in their home.
There's something wild and beautiful about this place, and that it's been able to retain its existence through the increasing build up of strip malls and highways is pretty impressive. I was confident that I wanted to take a stand for this place. Getting stung by a bee on my way out was a little annoying, but it added to the wild beauty of the place.
The meeting was so enlightening. I really got to see some of the people from the area in a way that I haven't been able to yet:
The older hippies who come to every town meeting to take a stand against evil corporations, who are taking away our natural resources and our freedom.
The angry guy who tried to turn the meeting into a rally by screaming, 'you have to LISTEN to us! You can't keep us quiet!' and got kicked out of the meeting.
The woman, an older intellectual hippie, who had her paperwork and had did her research. She condescendingly reminded the committee that they hadn't thought of every detail and made them question themselves.
The guy who was on multiple committees and - literally - wore different hats when he came up to speak on the different subjects.
The tie-dye skirted woman who just wanted to argue about dogs being leashed and was texting the rest of the meeting - she was even still texting when she walked up to the microphone to make a comment.
The land owner who was trying to explain why he wanted to sell his land to a big business, only giving vague details and not being able to answer any question with a direct answer.
And then there was us. The younger generation, giving a face of youthful rationality to counterbalance the older attendees who couldn't seem to listen well enough to speak to the appropriate agenda item.
It was really enlightening. Who knows what sort of impact any of us had, but being there together and showing the committee the many faces that would fight for a cause must have given them some pause. They claimed not to have much control over this situation, but now it is their responsibility to relay our message to those whose ears they certainly have.
And if they have the passion of the people I saw at the meeting, the place we fought for could retain its essence.