[Below you will find a chapter from a book on the real-life effects of various provisions of the Bill of Rights in protecting the rights of grass-roots American citizens. This chapter is about the right of free assembly, and it focuses on a court case brought by nine Washingtonians — including me — against the FBI and the DC Police Department. The book is by ELLENALDERMAN and
How did I come to be arrested 50 years ago? On July 4, 1963, I was a Senior Fellow at a tiny research center, the Peace Research Institute. As I had done for a number of years on the Fourth, I was rereading the Declaration of Independence. when I got a call from Carol Cohen McEldowney, may her memory be a blessing. She was my research assistant.
This is a letter I never imagined writing, and am deeply grief-stricken to be writing.
Rev. Bob Edgar, a great public servant and my friend, died yesterday.
I last saw him on January 15, when he spoke at a gathering at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church near the White House, sponsored by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, to protest Presidential inaction on the climate crisis.
Three years younger, healthier all his life than I have been, he is dying of what began as the same cancer that I have in these same last months lived through and lived beyond.
Uncanny that our lives are so intertwined –— and so divergent.
Indeed, twenty years ago we wrote a book together about how our lives have intertwined – and diverged. Becoming Brothers, we called it. And now, after many years in which he became for me the older brother that he wished I had been for him, years in which he taught me how to love, he is dying, leaving me bereft, bereaved. Profoundly sad.
He lives in Portland, Oregon, a continent away from me in Philadelphia. I have just come from spending four days with him, to tell him what he has meant to me, and that I love him; and in tears to say goodbye.
And at the same time, I am filled with joy and energy at my own deliverance. I have thought about “survivors’ guilt,” but only thought about it. I have not –- at least not yet –- been gripped by guilt that he is dying while I survive. Instead, I am living with a two-fold awareness: grief and joy.
Last week (mid-July 2010), I described what I was doing right then, in a note on my FaceBook page. This is what I said:
"In theory I'm on vacation at Cape May, Delaware. [Cape May, I later remembered, is actually in New Jersey, just across the Bay from Delaware.] It has been a delicious time with Phyllis-- my life-partner, favorite rabbi, and co-author -- and other family, including our ten-month old granddaughter, who is a hoot.
Make a recurring donation and receive Freedom Journeys as our token of appreciation. Click here for more info about the book. Freedom Journeys is a deep meditation on the timeless—and timely—relevance of the Exodus narrative. In the grand tradition of mystical exegesis, Waskow and Berman reflect upon Exodus not only as an event that happened “then” and “there”, but a paradigm of movement that is happening here and in the now, for all of us, Jew and Muslim, Black and White, male and female. —Omid Safi, professor of Islamic studies, University of North Carolina.