This weekend I attended a wonderful gathering of people who are not OK with letting ignorance and hate infect our community and our state. Before Durham in Defiance, some people complained that we should be demonstrating in the streets rather than standing around talking. We have been in the streets for many years, and we will turn out again (and again, and again). But what made this event really important was that it was organized for the long haul.

Each hour, we heard from speakers on a specific theme, then were asked to talk to people that we didn’t already know about questions related to the topic. The result was hundreds of new relationships across lines of age, race, gender, sexuality, class, and ideology. We all learned from each other, and many of us grew more invested in this group and this community.

The gathering was closed out in two extremely powerful ways. First, a group from the Terreiro de Arte e Cultura did a participatory capoeira performance. I have seen capoeira before, but something about these people and this music and those moves and that moment just opened my heart right up. By the end I was weeping at the absolute beauty of it. My friend Eileen captured some of it on this 6-minute video and also some great photos.

And then we held hands forming a circle that encompassed the entire Farmer’s Market pavilion and field. Together we spoke, yelled, and screamed the powerful chant by Assata Shakur.

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love each other and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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