The people of Juarez, Mexico, were scared, angry, demoralized, and finally numbed by random violence and 9,000 murders in three years. A group of teenagers, all from a small evangelical church in a dangerous neighborhood. launched a dramatic and sustained protest. They slicked back their hair, painted their faces silver, and wore ghostly angel costumes with large wings covered in feathers. They stood on rooftops in slums. They stood frozen in place along commuter routes. Sometimes they stood near corpses lying in the streets, silent presences bearing witness. Starting in 2010 and continuing for the next three years, they went out weekend after weekend like this. The city marveled at their courage.
Their signs proclaimed: “Assassin repent, Christ loves you.” “Corrupt police, seek God.” “Enough kidnapper! Look for God.” What they did was very dangerous, because they were directly confronting the brutal Zeta cartel and corrupt police.
When the hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church, AKA “God Hates Fags” people, started showing up at the funerals of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, angels blocked out the hate group with their large satin wings.
For many years, a veteran in Leesburg, Mike Sanders, has left small American flags in various places in and around Leesburg. The Flag Man, as he is known, often stands along busy roads holding one or more American Flags. I saw him kneeling beside Rt. 28 not long ago, his palms clasped together in prayer. Do you see how one man can leave an indelible image on thousands of people?
I have also seen a man dressed like Jesus, walking across America dragging a cross; Native Americans dancing in traditional costumes to protect the Earth; a woman standing at military attention in front of the Smithsonian surrounded by laughing tourists; grandmothers lying on the ground before mock tombstones in “die ins,” clowns and men dressed as super heroes giving out hugs and visiting sick kids in hospitals.
Do Not Despair, Dress Up
I just read an article (see below) shared today on social media, about people feeling demoralized by the constant assault of bad news. That’s what the politicians in control of our government are counting on: us giving up, staying home, not fighting for what is right. Here’s what I know. One man or woman standing in the right place at the right time can make a difference. 25 kids dressed in Angels can give hope to an entire city. A guy dressed up like Batman visiting a kid’s cancer ward will never be forgotten by the families whose lives he touched.
Let’s get creative
STOP THE PIPELINES: What can we do to spread the word about the fracked-gas pipelines now being constructed in Virginia? What can we do that will stop the public in its tracks long enough to understand the problem? What will get the governor’s attention? 40 more pipelines in many states are currently being reviewed by FERC!! 40.
FIGHT WHITE SUPREMACY: The assault on migrants, on African Americans, on Muslims, is a tactic to sow fear and hatred of “the other” so that the billionaires can take full control of our economy and take power from the people. What can we do to show people that America is a land of immigrants? That hate is unAmerican?
The Messenger Angels of Ciudad Juárez (Vice, April 12, 2013)
Angels Send Message of Peace To Juarez Mexico (NPR, Dec 19, 2011)
Mike Sanders, Flag Man of Leesburg (Facebook Post, reprint of a news piece, Dec 12, 2012)