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Lions Roar : January 2019
KYLE LEMLE is a cofounder of LeadtoLife.org, which transforms guns into shovels to use for planting trees at sites impacted by violence. PHOTOBYRUCHACHITNIS We Marched Singing & Dancing BY KYLE LEMLE I WAS HIRED TO ORGANIZE THE INTERFAITH contingent for the “Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice” march that occurred in San Fran- cisco on September 8, 2018. My job was to mobilize Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and people of many other traditions to demand real climate lead- ership in the days before the Global Climate Action Summit, organized by Governor Jerry Brown. I’m a community forester and climate organizer by training, and my ecological worldview has been woven over many years of Buddhist practice. But I alone couldn’t mobilize thousands of people; community organizing is based in relationship. And relationships are formed through kindness. We held our first meeting at the Church by the Side of the Road, an his- toric African American church in south Berkeley, hosted by Rev. Ambrose Carroll. Thirty people from across the Bay Area and across faith traditions showed up. I brought six pastries, not knowing Rev. Ambrose and his team had prepared a huge breakfast spread. Feeding people is kindness. We sang songs of worship together. We voiced the call from our various traditions to care for creation. And at the end of the meeting, I laid out the many tasks that needed to be done. One by one, volunteers raised their hands to help build our website, design flyers, and make phone calls. Over the next few weeks, doing countless hours of work, our volun- teers demonstrated a profound kindness toward the earth and all beings. Together, we organized three thousand people of faith to march, becoming the largest single contingent at a march of over thirty thousand people, the largest climate mobilization ever on the West Coast. On that day, Bud- dhist nuns walked alongside Baptist preachers alongside young adults from Catholic schools. We rose in prayer, hope, courage, and determination. We did not march in anger but rather in fierce love. We marched singing and dancing. In this era when politicians wield hate and fear to divide us, may our main organiz- ing strategy always be kindness. Being Kindness BY NOLIWE ALEXANDER I SEE KINDNESS MOST VIVIDLY IN MY FAMILY. I witness how my sister lovingly cares for her husband of thirty-nine years. As her daily activities stretch to include his journey with Alzheimer’s, she is unselfishly giving and seamlessly dances from doing kindnesses to being kindness. What is true kindness? Does kindness come from remembering our true nature? When I was in my late thirties—a single, working mom doing way too much—my mother came to visit. Arriving home exhausted one day, I was harsh with her in words and actions. She allowed me to stew for a while and then calmly asked, “Do you remember the Golden Rule?” I was flooded with memories of growing up. I paused, and when she softly asked again, LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2019 59