How do you rally, when you can’t stand up?

This blog was sent to us by Brian Kennedy, a nursing home volunteer from New York state.

Our group came together in a nursing home in Upstate New York. First we only talked politics, then someone said, “We’re a lot of talk, no action.” For this group, all over 85, and mostly wheel chair bound, talk seemed like the only option. But they wanted more.

As a nursing home volunteer and the group’s coordinator, I had just heard Bill McKibben on NPR speak of climate change. I emailed 350.org and said we were interested in the rally on February 17th, but let them know we could not march and preferred not to be arrested. A quick response told us we could join the ranks of marchers by sending a picture and telling our story.

These usually quiet senior citizens said, “Let’s do it, for ourselves, for our kids, for their kids.” They became excited, resourceful. Bernie, an ex-GE engineer and veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, told us all he knew about climate change and fracking. Ralph, who had been the Director of Education for the Cayman Islands, said, “It’s important to educate, to share our knowledge.” He shared his first hand knowledge of nuclear energy systems. Betty proclaimed with a smile, “I’m proud to represent women in this project.”

Charlie, a social worker and WWII vet, rallied us with, “First we fought for democracy, now they need us again, to fight for the planet.” I began getting calls at home at all hours from a team member who was busily drafting up a letter to go straight to President Obama.

This project has raised the long silent voices of these nursing home residents and allowed them to stand, when they literally cannot, for something vitally important. 

 

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