A Letter to the Community About Last Night
Dear Santa Cruz,
We did it. What a beautiful celebration. What an amazing group of people.
Thousands of people came out New Year's Eve to participate in the people’s parade that marched raucously up Pacific Avenue and spanned many blocks. The parade included the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra, martial arts displays, firedancers, the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, peace marchers, Indonesian music, drum circles, floats, the Opera Lady, the Man in Black, zombies, and much much more. I was thrilled to see spectators on the sidelines plunge in to the parade and become participants. The parade was high-energy and peaceful. There were no conflicts with police who’s light presence remained far on the periphery.
I woke up on January 1st (in my bed, not in the hoosegow, I was happy to note) and thought "This is our year." This is the people's year to do exactly what needs doing. No one can stop us.
I had the good fortune to be a tourist in Oaxaca City, Mexico years ago when the Zapatista delegation was making its historic trek to Mexico City to make their demands to the Mexican government. I'll never forget a rally in the central plaza with thousands of people chanting "¡El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido!" Roughly, "the people united, will never be defeated!" Indeed.
That's how it felt on Saturday night. Joyous. Defiant. Victorious. Heartwarming. Thrilling. All those things and more, a swirl of emotions. The magic and mystery of the unknown, the unplanned, the unscripted.
In September, I wrote: "This is our town, our celebration, our night. Let's do our own parade. A Last Night celebration. A last night of waiting for governments, institutions, or anyone else to entertain us, satisfy us, bring us security, freedom, or joy. We reclaim our streets and usher in the new year with our own celebration."
Throughout this year, I want to keep that in mind. This is our town. We make it happen. We make up our community and we are what makes this town vital and full of life. This is our year. If we want to see something happen, we make it happen.
If there's a war on that we need to stop, let's stop it. If there is injustice, let's right it. If there is suffering, let's put an end to it. If we need to celebrate, let's do it.
That was our last night, of waiting and seeing.
Love and celebration,