And we began, this tiny motley crew, to march the streets of downtown L.A., police car escorts clearing our path. I admit I was a bit distracted by the tall, silent, brown skinned guy in a blue--apparently Captain America--costume.
“The whole damn system’s got to go!”
“We say no to the new Jim Crow!”
“Stop mass incarceration!”
And all the while we're led by these hopping, stepping, drumming Aztecs. And at first I just thought “What the heck” and “Only in L.A.” but then I felt something that--putting into words--well--their beautiful clothing with the bright colors and abstract designs, and those awesome feather headdresses, the legwarmers with rattling shells, the ancient rhythm to which they moved, the sounding of the conch--it was a different kind of protest.
Not like our angered shouting of “No! No! No!” It was instead, a “Yes.” We said “Not That” and they said “This.” They said beauty, humanity, spirituality, and organic harmony. (Laughing nervously out loud--I can hardly believe I'm buying into it.) They said with their feathers and shells and their sacred dance in the midst of the courthouses, sky scrapers, freeways, surrounded by irritated commuters, stopped in their cars as we passed, they said, We are part of something much bigger than ourselves--bigger than this city--more powerful than politicians, and the LAPD--we are the children of the Earth. Nothing can violate the sacredness, nothing can overcome the divine within us.
We have already begun to be the change we wish to see.
[Sad that this video has so little footage of the Aztec dancers--just a few seconds, at 1:23--and no footage of the guy in the Captain America suit--tsk tsk--I guess they were trying to make our group look more respectable, heh. (You can see me at 0:43 and 1:52, for those who get a kick out of seeing someone they know "on t.v.")]
[You can see a little of the Aztecs' costumes in this video, but it was before they started dancing. I'm also there behind them, toward the right--holding some flyers that I had been charged with handing out to passersby--you probably have to view the video in a larger format (on youtube) to recognize me.]