By Alicia East
We were told it was disrespectful to play our beat-tastic music for such a somber occasion. It was too loud. Too irreverent. But we still did it.
The first year, I wondered if the naysayers were right. It was, after all, a commemoration of a day violent enough to be called Bloody Sunday. But we were doing it for an audience of one: Congressman John Lewis. Our friend Sheyann Webb-Christburg (there she is in the pearls) was with him at the front of the procession as they rounded the block toward us from Brown Chapel.
He “shed a little blood on that bridge”
But that was far from the tone when he danced with us [hyperlink]. It was such a thrill when he broke away from security and approached us. They must’ve had a heckuva time keeping track of him as he got swallowed up by happy dancing teenagers. And he danced–joyfully!
That was all I needed to know. Every year after that, our frowning companions on the sidewalk didn’t bother me. I danced, too.
Turns out, as one of the ones beaten bloody that day, he didn’t think it was disrespectful at all. Maybe after a morning of long speeches and stuffy suits, it was just a release for him. Far from irreverent, I like to think all of us dancing together on that street corner showed reverence in a way the lifelong activist understood–a nod to the “good trouble” that had precipitated us standing on that bridge in the first place.
To good trouble!