In July, I shared my story about how attempting something difficult—physically, mentally, emotionally—prepared me for being a leader of conscience today. In turn, I asked our AoCC community to share their own stories and inspiration with us all. Many thanks to the brave souls who stepped up in this 8-part series!
I had been terrified in 1979 by the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island. Shortly thereafter I attended my first protest, marching against the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island. The evening news mainly ignored us, the thousands of peaceful protesters, and focused instead on the handful who climbed the fence of that facility. That valuable lesson in media coverage didn’t stop us, and the plant eventually closed. Perseverance is everything.
Most of my protests these days are local, with just a few of us standing, holding signs, and sometimes chanting at a busy intersection. We may be only a handful, but our presence and perseverance are important and a sign to others like us that they are not alone.
I’ve been a caregiver since 2001 and a cancer patient since 2014 (and have also been active in both those communities). I also still work, so self-care and pacing are crucial for me. Sitting outside for five minutes and being in nature are a form of respite for me. Doing household errands, getting enough sleep, and quiet time to read are crucial. Keeping a journal is a form of meditation for me and it also lets me brainstorm and vent. Interestingly, the digital art that helped me get through chemo now helps me with political expression.
The fact that I am doing something—anything—sustains me, no matter how much my heart is breaking or how much I fear for the future. I know that I am one of many working toward a better world, and that gives me comfort.
Let’s keep working together! Open this week’s Americans of Conscience Checklist here.