Unification News for September 2002

SFP: An Impromptu Independence Day Rally

July 4, 2002, on God's Independence Day, the Service for Peace participants from the DC, Baltimore, and Virginia area gathered together to celebrate and watch fireworks at Malcolm X Park. Visiting the park, which is also known as Meridian Hills Park, was a great opportunity for us to reach out to hundreds of people from the community gathered together for a family oriented event. Also, it was only a short walk from the Columbia Church, which made it very easy to travel and mobilize people.

The ACLC teams from DC and Virginia met the day before with Jamal about how we would approach the next 21 days after the July third blessing. Jamal encouraged us to go out and find projects through serving. He felt that the inspirations and ideas for the next three weeks would come when we really started practicing "true love in action." With that in mind we planned to create some sort of buzz blitzing event by having a park cleanup and either holding a fundraiser with neon glow sticks or a rally after the fireworks. The team's goal was to extend the atmosphere of family at the park beyond the limits of immediate relatives, uniting all the different people who would attend.

For three or four hours the two ACLC teams tried to develop a practical plan about how to get the product, organize entertainment, make a schedule etc. Little by little the time for the fireworks drew nearer. Directly in proportion to that, the rushed plans and structure of the plan began to fall through. Eventually, the two teams decided not to fundraise and not to have a rally -- just to serve by picking up trash. Our external goal would be to have a meaningful conversation with at least three people.

We started by mobilizing all the Service for Peace kids in a large group, handing out garbage bags and gloves in the process. We began cleaning from the front of the park to the back, in one large wave. As we all picked up trash, a few of us began to leaflet and reach out to the people gathered there. The sea of blue colored youth picking up garbage and talking to the community was an inspiring sight to see and the people were genuinely inspired.

After about 40 minutes of serving, the fireworks show began, and all the SFP kids assembled in various groups to watch the show. During the performance there was a DJ playing music, trying to keep a lively atmosphere. After a few songs a small group of SFP sisters assembled near the stage setup for the event, and started to dance. Gradually more and more of our kids started to dance and let go of their inhibitions. Many BC's who normally would not get up and dance began to step out of their "comfort zones," and express the joy of just being all together. The feeling of family within us was undeniably powerful and people in the front of the crowd also began to dance as the fireworks were going off.

Because the fireworks display was not very long, even after it was over, we felt we had more we could do for the crowd. Soon, we all jumped on stage and started dancing together to the music, which grabbed the attention of many people about to go home. Meanwhile, Artie Shau (DC ACLC) asked the MC if we could sing a song together to the crowd. After the music finished, the DJ announced us as Service for Peace as we all sang and danced to, "Lean on Me."

After our song we were about to head out and leave but apparently the guys and girls who like breakdancing apparently found their way to the DJ to put on the music. We rushed back to the stage and the kids with the ability to dance pumped up the crowd with their acrobatic and rhythmical display of Hip-Hop culture. Also, people in the crowd worked their way on stage, including one African-American brother who six-stepped and back flipped across the floor sending the crowd into a frenzy.

We concluded our stage time by chanting "Service for Peace! Service for Peace! And July 26th! July 26th!" We all left with incredibly high-spirits, drenched with sweat and resolute spirit.

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