Questions in a storm. An opportunity for anyone who hasn’t been at ground level to feel and experience what it’s been like seeing and hearing the wave of love and pain that has been endured through systematic racism in this country and world.
Amy asked for these words to be shared. I am just one white woman. I realize I am very fortunate. I realize I am privileged. I acknowledge I don’t know everything. I am trying my best to learn as much as I can. I am listening and absorbing. I can only speak for myself and my own experiences. I do not know what it is like to walk in anyone else’s shoes but my own. I know I have empathy. I know I have hope. I possess a deep desire to help and support. I am still learning and growing every day. I know I make mistakes. But I am doing what I can. Everyone has their own path. This is simply mine.
You spend a lot of time listening to the streets. Hearing what homeless kids have to say. They say the streets speak, what are your hearing right now?
I agree with that statement that the streets speak. I mean we are seeing it every day on the news and not just here, but all over the world. The streets are just booming with magnetic energy that’s screaming for justice that is so long overdue. These voices have been here before we all know this, but I am hopeful that this time in the year 2020 it will be radically different for our history and we will see real and meaningful changes within society.
Change at every level and in all facets of life as we know it.
There have been protests almost daily in LA for many weeks now. Because of COVID-19, I have not been able to work at the homeless center since March 13. But I have attended quite a few protests and rallies in this last month. I was also fortunate that I helped spearhead a street art event after the looting in LA so I have been out on the streets quite a bit (being safe and wearing a mask of course) and what I’ve heard and seen if I had to sum it up is – strength and resiliency.
What have you learned about yourself, and humanity in the moments of the peaceful LA protesting?
I learned yet again the importance of not always having to speak, but to listen. So I’ve done a lot of listening – to leaders of different organizations like BLM, ACLU, to educators, writers, poets, artists, pastors, and activists – I’m keeping my ears open to them all. I take all that I can in, and do what I do, which is to act. This period of time has reinforced in me that I’m simply a person who needs to take action. I’m at my best when I do. It’s how I am wired so it doesn’t really surprise me, I’m not a passive or idle person. I like to dig in and keep moving. But I also realize and I’m totally ok with the fact that I’m just a very, very small tiny little gear in this massive machine that is rising up – and that is fine by me. No matter what, doing is good for my heart and my soul. So I’m doing whatever I can in my own way to help push this movement forward to hopefully make history that will matter, and the end result will be really simple.
Life is fair and equal for all. I see this as my moral and ethical responsibility as a human.
As far as humanity, from what I am seeing on the street, at least here in LA, there is a very strong vibration that’s hard to ignore. There’s an energy. There’s unity. People feel bonded in this effort and there’s so much power behind their voices that’s beautiful to see. A lot of force is out on the streets and it makes you believe shit is happening and we are going to make impact that will be historical and have weight to it. I for one believe it. The people feel so powerful right now and it is very emotional at times to see and witness. When I’m in it I believe we are going to flip this 400 year old script.
What was the most impactful thing you witnessed or heard during the protests?
The protests have reinforced in me the importance of listening. There have been so many amazing leaders, young and old, speaking at these events that have taught me so much.
I’m just trying to be a sponge right now, absorbing, so I can be someone who acts intelligently, responsibly and empathetically.
The most powerful march I have done in LA was in West Hollywood at the All Black Lives Matter March which was scheduled in place of the usual Pride Parade. And what impacted me most was seeing so many diverse and unique people of color being free to express their sexual identity and to share their stories so powerfully and so strongly – I was in awe of them – especially those who were very young like ages 13, 14 and 15. Hearing young activists get up in front of thousands of people and speaking so eloquently about their personal stories and struggles. They were all so impressive and so well-spoken – wise beyond their years. It made such a strong impression on me. That is something I never would have seen growing up. To be a witness to their strength, intelligence, composure, and individual beauty in coming out to protest – it blew me away.
For those who weren’t at the LA protests how would you explain it in your words?
Love. Love was everywhere and it was vivid and vibrant and fierce. And the music and the art that’s always part of these protests – unbelievable! It is literally a sea of color and light and sound and energy. Expressions in all forms at the highest level – it is really overwhelming to experience. You feel like you are in an electric kaleidoscope wave and you know this is history.
It makes your heart race, you are a tiny part of something bigger than you, and you feel so many emotions racing inside of you all at once. It’s truly impactful and spiritual.
And I think to myself, this has to make a difference. This must! This is too strong to ignore. It is a force. It simply feels too powerful to be ignored this time. This has to be it. And how amazing would it be to be a witness to this all? It makes my palms sweaty and turns my stomach into knots just writing about it now. It is time. It has to be.
The street is yours. Tell whoever reads this whatever you want to say about how you are feeling.
I really believe there is nothing too small that each of us can do to help make a difference. That gives me great peace and calm especially when I get fired up about what is going on and I feel change is not happening quick enough or more shit gets revealed every day of awful events happening across the country. When that happens my husband calls me Feisty O’Feenan. I just use it all as my personal fuel. I will get fired up and instead of just getting upset, or angry, or worse yet, ignoring it all and putting my head in the sand, I do my part – whatever that is. I constantly search every day for what I can do no matter how small of an action it is, and I am there to do it, to help to push this ahead. I’m committed. I’m in the trenches with thousands of others but I love it down here.
Strength in people’s voices to be heard by the establishment, strength to stand up for those who have been killed, abused, marginalized, and scorned by society, strength to keep showing up and not letting up.
Strength in numbers, strength in the massive diversity in those numbers – young and old, all shades of color and sexual identity. It is simply resilient strength. It’s palpable and it draws you in and it makes you not want to give up or stop. The people right now feel so impactful and united to me and I believe nothing will let up until real changes are implemented. We have seen this movie so many times before, I wasn’t here for past revolutions in this country but this feels so intense and committed and with massive numbers behind it. So what I hear is endless resilient strength to this cause and I believe it, and it’s not dying down with time but getting stronger.
Amy Favat, family above all, feisty warrior for those who have no voice, giver, homeless youth advocate, humanitarian.
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