I needed some time to reflect on the past week and the Peace Rally we held in Dundas Square last Wednesday night. It was such an amazing night in so many ways that I needed some time to digest everything that happened and all that has been inspired by that one amazing evening. Last night I went and saw Maya Angelou and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. There was some key things she spoke about that sent tingles down my spine and made me think about my past week and the Peace Rally – Hope for Mexico. One of her main messages of the evening was to inspire each audience member to try and be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud, because you just never know how a smile, a kind gesture, an acknowledgement or a simple hello might affect that person’s day. She encouraged us to do something good – because you want to – and know that ‘someone’ is always watching, ‘someone’ is always taking note and maybe they will go on to do something great too and change another person’s perspective or day or life. It made me think of our peace rally and what that night did for my family and so many other families.
I knew by watching my daughter that night and speaking to her afterwards that she took away some pretty important life lessons. She saw for herself that one person can make a difference and accomplish great things. What a great lesson to give a little girl. She found out that friendships and community support are things to cherish and count on. She now knows without a doubt, that if you believe in something don’t be afraid to take a stand, and stick to it, even if at times it seems impossible to change it. And more importantly she knows, those you care about are always worth the effort.
My friend Mario who so kindly offered to be our M.C. for the night echoed my thoughts on the gift we gave our children. He wrote to me the next morning,
“I believe that whatever we did on Wednesday touched many more people than we could see. For me, I was very interested in showing the kids that we cared enough to at least do this, that really worked. On the way back home, we stopped for dinner right after the rally, we wanted everything to be very fresh in the kids’ minds- and the kids talked a lot about what they saw. It really struck a cord in them and they liked what was said. THAT was the moment for me.”
Vivianna Castell sung a song to the children that night too, she understood the importance of passing on this message of peace to our children and the importance of hope that will bring to their future. It was amazing to see all the kids gather at her feet while she was singing looking up in admiration, and the image of all the kids on stage holding peace signs while I read a poem about peace is a powerful one too. They were listening.
It is our children who will pass on the messages we give them, whether they are done blatantly, silently, good messages or bad. They hear, they feel, they are inspired by our example. That was true in Dundas Square last Wednesday night and it’s true for all those children in Mexico that watch their parents and the choices they make.
Here is a snippet of my speech from the Peace Rally. Hopefully my words were a rainbow in someone’s cloud that night, and I’m even more hopeful that some little ears were listening intently and I inspired them to do big things.
“My friend Cesar has always and happily put his life on hold when we are visiting so we can spend as much time together as possible. He’s done things for my family that goes above and beyond the definition of a friend. So when there was something I could do to make him feel just a smidgen of what I feel he’s done for me….there was no hesitation.
I know that this rally here tonight will not change the tragedy in Mexico tomorrow, more people will die tomorrow, more young Mexicans will be lured in by the drug cartels, more mass graves will be uncovered and more people will be afraid to leave their homes after dark,
But I know for sure, my friends and their families have a warm heart tonight because we are standing here – united- and I’m sure your loved ones in Mexico that know you are here have warm hearts tonight too. And that means something, that means we are giving them hope, hope for a better tomorrow.
I came across a saying while organizing this rally that kept me going when I got scared that no one would show up. It’s by Margaret Mead:
“NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF THOUGHTFUL, COMMITTED CITIZENS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD”
This is our opportunity to shed some light on the realities of Mexico. This is our time to give those we love in Mexico hope.
I believe, Education is the key….it’s a start and in time it will change the path of young Mexicans. Education creates opportunities…. and goals…. and dreams.
We need to encourage our Mexican families to promote education and encourage the youth in Mexico to dream big. Looks what happens when you dream big, kids make it out of severe poverty in Africa, kids make out of the bronx, kids who dream big do big things. So that’s where we need to start in Mexico. That’s our wish for them tonight.”
Thank you to all my friends, old and new for showing up that night. “showing up” such a simple thing to say, but has such a deep and profound meaning if you actually do “show up” for someone. You all were the rainbow in my cloud.