Monday, May 7, 2012


This past week found me doing a bit of support for the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) on their Green Walk for Jobs and Justice. Starting on April 30 in Philadelphia, these intrepid activists speaking of the perils of extractive energy practices-- like Mountain Top Removal(MTR) and hydro-fracking-- are walking to Pittsburgh, PA, by May 16, stopping along the way to meet with allies, speak their truths, and engage in direct action in confrontation with PNC Bank. Why PNC Bank? Because, though PNC describes that "no company has done more to spur the charge, or energize the green cause than PNC," this bank funds these extractive practices. MTR destroys eco-systems, cultures, houses, farms, local economies, water sources-- you name it, it's destroyed. 

So, they are walking. Walking as prophets, walking as spiritual seekers speaking truth to power. On Tuesday, May 1, a group of 16 came for dinner, and 12 overnight, staying in mini-dorms and guest rooms around campus at Westtown School. Students from the Religion and Social Change, and Liberation Theology courses came to hear EQAT speak about their trek, and why its so important that all seek an active life. 

I was running around looking for keys, water, passwords, bagged lunches, a quiet spot for worship, in the 16 hours they were at Westtown. I was so gratified to be sitting in a meeting space at the school, listening to the energy and care as these folks talked about the power of supported resistance, the power of a group of people making informed choices about their willingness to risk arrest, willingness to walk for miles on back roads, willingness to love and support those who can do these things, even if they cannot. There is an expansiveness in this group, an openness to the exact moment of the meeting of will and joy. They walk with joy, they resist with joy and love. They disagree wildly and with much cheering. It's pretty awesome. 

And on Saturday, myself and a WT student spent the morning with the walkers and supporters. We participated in the daily ceremonial tacking on of the Theses of True Greening, a la Martin Luther, on the front of the local PNC Bank in Lancaster. The student I went with was enlisted in taking caution tape and tying the doors of the bank. It was removed by a manager, and retied later. We posed in front of the bank with an orange dot to share with the international day of action on May 5,'s Connecting the Dots, highlighting the interconnectedness of climate change around the world. We listened to speakers and shared the good news of the walk. And then we piled into one of the support vans and promptly got lost looking for the walkers, trying to catch up with them, noticing they had missed a turn, ferrying them to their route, and finally walking for a couple of hours before the worldly world called us back. 

And so, I got to walk. Immediately, I wanted to stay all day, all week even. The pull of this liminal transformation was palpable to me. I was taken by the three walkers who have been traveling since the beginning together-- all three solitary, in their own way. All three at ease in their otherness. All three determined, careful, clear. I immediately remembered my experiences with the Zen Community of Oregon, where I spent a month in retreat and practice with the monks committed to traveling through their bodily experience to reach beyond it, waking up to the clarity of their moments-- to truly experience what is, without fear. 

And after a few minutes of this memory, something else started to happen. I started to remember other walks, other times when I was uncommonly in my body. I remembered hiking in the Shenandoah with my beloved, before the babies and the farms, composing my marching song:
I am marching marching marching in the bright light of the truth
I am marching marching marching int he bright light of the truth
I have Jesus on my right side, and Buddha on my left
Allah in my shirt pocket
and in my backpack is Goddess.
We sang this, loudly, hoping the bears would be swayed by at least one of the religious references, hoping the heat wouldn't conquer us. 

I remembered before that, in NYC, 1995, taking over the city streets with our bodies as part of the Dyke March that Pride Week. Many bore their breasts in protest to new laws prohibiting breasts being visible. My small and mighty friend, Jen Marguiles, took her boots and tromped on the orange mesh fence, holding her hand up in a firm STOP to the cops trying to stare her down. We all fell as one to the ground to become immoveable, and thousands of us took the streets that day. 

This walk, though brief, opened up the possibility that maybe, even if I judge myself as not being worthy, not doing enough, not having an authentic voice or one worth listening to, maybe instead of that crap, I can see that I have been walking for a long long time. Maybe this walk on Saturday, this epic trek of EQAT, is part of this long walk we are all on. As a strategic expression of a sustained campaign, it is brilliant and full of life and Spirit. And as the walk that is part of all our walks, marches, sit-ins, resistance in the ordinary and extraordinary to tyranny and soul death, this walk is a call to all of us to take up our good comfy shoes, strap them on, and get moving in the direction of justice-love.

I have been told that sacred music is always being chanted or sung around the world at every moment of the day. Monks, nuns, priests,and others take up the holy in their voices across the world. This has comforted and awed me. Perhaps it is time to believe that also there is a walk for justice, a work of strategic resistance, happening at all times around the world. Perhaps it is time to walk the talk, and walk the walk.


  1. Thanks Victoria. The walk was only possible because of circle after circle of support from people like you. We are so grateful!

  2. Thank you Victoria for your love, organizing power, and your beautiful and feisty spirit! Wish we could have walked together with our babes...maybe next time! ;-)

  3. Thanks for a great post! Yes, "that crap" can get in the way of us feeling our power. I don't know if I told you that some of the people you initially reached out to helped us greatly!