What a difference a day makes.

 One. Whole. Year. 

My gosh it seems like last week. I still have to remind myself that it wasn't "last semester" or "a couple months ago." It's been an entire year since the Hold Out ended and my life has been so blessed since then.
March 9, 2010 was full of laughter, screaming, tears, excitement, dancing, jumping, running, reflecting, bittersweet goodbyes, and the most incredible hugs I've ever known. I could give you a play by play of the day because I can recall almost every glance and every sweet moment of joy. But I'll spare you most of those details... because unless you were there, it would just seem like a bunch of jumbled emotion. And if you were there... you don't need my account of the chaos anyhow.
That being said, I would like to take this space to quote some good friends of mine regarding the experience:
"It is difficult to pinpoint the most humbling moment in the course of the 11 days, or rather, the instance of time in which I realized that with these people beside me, there was no chance of failure.From the moment local community members began risking their livelihoods to provide us with shelter, showers, and food; to the scene of 50 people waking at six in morning outside in 30 degree weather, without a word of complaining; to the map that showed the distances traveled by all; to the nights shared in music and laughter; or to the final night, when nobody left, and we slept one more time in a row of sleeping bags on the concrete.
That last night was the final confirmation that the people who had gathered under the shadow of the Chase skyscraper were a force to be reckoned with. The relentless cold, the hardness of the ground, the sacrifice of time had faded to the background as the sense of purpose and community trumped all concerns." - Kenneth Transier
“The holdout was more than just convincing Senator Coburn to say yes, it was when a lot of us woke up to how much we still had to learn. In Oklahoma, I watched the effects of a father telling his son he was proud of him for the first time, a deli worker spend his hard earned money on feeding the crazy young people outside the building, a hungry demonstrator give his lunch to the homeless man down the street, and the list goes on. I learned how powerful a community can be, how passion can carry you through the most frustrating times, and that I’ve gained the best friends I could ask for.” – Abby Freeman
 "Remember that time when a group of total strangers came together and fought for something bigger than ourselves, and how we became family in just 11 days?
Remember that time when we thought we were helping change the lives of others for the better, but in reality it was us who had been changed?

Remember that time when we made the impossible possible just by pursing & fighting for justice, stubbornly persevering under trial, and loving the hell out of people?
Remember how a small group of people with no political power or authority changed the heart of the most stubborn senator, and now a bill was signed into L-A-W?

...Ya, me too."

(And this is just the beginning)."  - Jessica Walizer

 -Mark Nehrenz
Know that it was unbelievable. That time stood still for us as we ran and held on to each other amidst the tears of utter joy and disbelief. And then, it died down and we stood together once again as a family dedicated to peace. Knowing that this wasn't the end of our fight, but that this was a huge step. And that was breathtaking. I remember looking over and seeing Kenneth just laying on the concrete, staring up at the building, or at the sky, or perhaps just looking. It made me think of the distance we'd come; of the way we'd grown together; of the hundreds of people who supported us even if they couldn't be there; of the 24 years of war that still raged on, but that there was a small glimmer of hope for an end. It was so humbling to look around and know that I was surrounded by some of the most insanely dedicated activists, but that our job was not even close to done.
I slept under the stars in downtown Oklahoma City for one last time that night, and with the blanket of night came the heaviness of reality. Yes, we had gotten the hold lifted. And yes, we had become a family. And yes, that bill went on to be signed into law on May 24, 2010. But until the war is completely over, we have to continue to remember the lives lost by thousands of Central Africans. That this is not a game of "who can sleep out the longest" or "how many phone calls to a Senator's office can I make today?" This is real. This is life. So many families live in fear even still. We still have work to do. The Holdout represented the drive and love embedded in the hearts of young people across the nation by bringing together a small portion of those who have been involved in the peace efforts. And Kenneth's blog on Resolve today was a reminder that those 12 days outside also represent the actions taken to hold our government accountable for the human rights violations all across the world; that we will not sleep comfortably until they take a stand with us; that we will persevere through the roadblocks that try to knock us off the beaten path we have chosen.
We will stand in solidarity. We will not back down. We will see this through to the end. And you better believe that you'll see 50 familiar faces rejoicing together when at last the peace comes.
"Someday, the light
 will shine like a sun
 through my skin
 & they will say,
 What have you done
 with your life?

 & though there are
 many moments i think
 i will remember,
 in the end,
 i will be proud to say,
     i was one of us."
Did I mention there was screaming and jumping? There was.

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