The thing about marching is: you’ve got time for your mind to work. The nervous energy spalls off with your marching, and you can really go deep.
The thing about marching with a group is: you’ve got moments. Moments for conversations, deep sharing, and joking. Moments where you get to know another person in a beautiful, unexpected way.
The thing about marching is that it goes well with singing, or a good Sousa dogfight, or a call-and-response chant led by one rousing voice.
Some of the teachers I talked to today walked over nine miles in a little strip in front of the school they’re not allowed to enter. There were educators on crutches. Picketers in wheel chairs.
When asked about the issues, every teacher I spoke with expressed concern for others. “I’m doing okay,” they’d say, “But I’m really worried about someone else.” For first-year teachers at the bottom rungs of the pay scale, how would they pay the rent. For teachers with families, how would they afford to live in the district where they teach. How the nurses and speech therapists and psychologists who divide their time between schools could manage caseloads. How the students would develop and reach their potential without enough time to play if they only got 15 minutes of recess.
These teachers striking aren’t “stiffing” our students.
They have unanimously decided to stand up for the dignity of our students by allowing them access to play and to equitable discipline.
They have unanimously voted to stand up for the dignity of their profession, for their worth as educated professionals to earn a living wage.
They have unanimously declared that as the stewards of this great democratic institution — free public education for all children — they will exercise their rights to speak and to assemble.
The thing about marching is, you crystallize your purpose. James Bevel famously expressed that he didn’t know what he thought they should ask for Governor Wallace to do when the Voting Rights Marchers set out from Selma; he just figured that the 54 road miles would give them time to settle into a rhythm. To bond. To think. To strategize. They’d know by the time they arrived.
The thing about marching is, some have called it “praying with our feet.” With each footfall, hopes and intentions rise.
The thing about marching is, it’s a community that’s going someplace.
The thing about marching is, when you do it, people want to join you.