MLK Candlelight Vigil

12 years ago I attended an MLK Candlelight Vigil in January.

We stood in the arctic cold in a small triangle park holding votive candles in solidarity for peace and justice.

I had thought hundreds of people would show up to the event.

There were only 5 of us. I accidentally broke the glass holder the candle was in.

The host took my email. Ever since then I’ve been bombarded with email campaigns to petition our government for farm workers’ rights and other issues.

It’s hard to read the magnitude of injustice. To hear the stories. And once again justice has not been served today.

Behind the smokescreen of ordinary issues voters are convinced to get riled up over lies the worst of human rights abuses in America and worldwide.

It’s chilling and can be numbing too.

The emails keep coming with pleas to join in for protests right in my town (against the North Brooklyn fracking and LNG depot) and faraway (the Global Thrive Act).

It can be overwhelming as to how one person can respond to every single injustice. Just being aware is the first step–not remaining blind to what goes on.

Our predicament predates our PT Barnum circus showman president.

Yet the emails have escalated since he was elected.

No one should live in fear of walking down the street. No one should have to endure what I call vicarious trauma by witnessing injustice against other people.

I want to shake sense into the people who don’t seem to care or don’t think there’s anything wrong with this picture.

How could you believe this carnival barker is what I want to know.

Give farm workers citizenship. Stop letting killer cops off the hook.

We are ruining the lives of future generations that will inherit this mess we’ve made.

My hope is that by saying something I will embolden others to break away from the silent herd and have the confidence to chime in.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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