Democracy Spring – Day 8

IMG_0473Today we marched 14 miles. Sorry for the gap in coverage. It takes a lot of energy to get 150 people from Philadelphia to Washington DC on foot. The journey so far has been amazing and we will be there tomorrow. I ended up driving the RV with the media team for a while which means I didnt get to march the whole way. But the RV needed driving and so that is what I did. There are so many people willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen. Whenever there is something that needs to get done, we put it to the group and someone steps up to take care of it. Whether it is driving, preparing food, helping with coordination or phone banking to secure more committed volunteers, people are stepping up and taking personal responsibility for this movement.
We have had wonderful hosts. We have stayed at Churches, hotels, and last night we stayed at an indoor soccer arena which was a great space for such a group. We were able to spread out a little and blow off some steam. There were simultaneously: a democratic town hall meeting, a frisbee game, a resonating circle, and several logistics meetings. At the democratic town hall, people were able to discuss important issues regarding some of our group norms and how we would act toward each other and represent the group to the greater public. At the resonating circles, people practiced listening to each others stories without interjecting their own agenda. At the logistics meetings we started talking about what the week in DC will look like and how we will finish out the march with everyone.

Today it rained in the morning and even snowed on us before lunch but everyone’s energy is so high this close to DC that the snow only bolstered everyone’s spirits and we cheered for it.  The last two days we have been in a more urban environement than between Philly and Baltimore.  We have had pretty much constant police escort.  The cops have been great and have made it much easier to march and keep a good pace when we don’t have to scramble over barriers and rocks and mud and non-existant shoulders.  Thanks to all of the police that have been there to keep us safe from the traffic and keep the traffic flowing around us.

It has been really neat to watch the group go through the normal group dynamics iterations.  We all started off as strangers from very diverse backgrounds and reasons for coming together.  We went through all the normal “forming, storming, norming” stuff and we will be arriving in DC as a cohesive unit.  Even the storming and norming parts of the process were done so gently and with so much love and respect shown by everyone that it took me several days to recognize what little tension there may have been for that normal group formation pattern.  Everyone is getting pretty excited to walk into DC tomorrow and we are getting lots of new people joining us which brings the energy up even more.  It feels like we can really make something happen, but only if there is a critical mass at the key moment.  You can still be part of the action.