Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:04:15 GMT
We were there!
"They came, they saw, they conquered!"
Marilyn and I arrived early at the Brown's Chapel AME Church awaiting the arrival of the busses from Birmingham holding the Tour Choirs. While waiting we discovered the two singing groups had "Groupies"; family and friends of the singers. Some folk saw Marilyn and connected as they talked about common acquaintances.
And then the busses arrived with police escorts; lights blinking, even a siren or two. It was like a presidential arrival! This time with 300 presidents! Presidents who understood America and love it far more than the present occupant of the White House.
Their arrival with fan fare etc., evoked emotions in me, difficult to describe. I was in Selma on the Tuesday following "Bloody Sunday" in 1965. Marilyn and I had gone to Selma a few years ago to do filming for our documentary. The response to the two of us in Selma was lukewarm, because of some hesitation in linking the Gay rights struggle to the Black rights struggle. But, as the busses arrived, I realized Marilyn and I had "set the table" for the ar rival of the Lavender Pen Tour in 2017!
In the Black Church we say; "God may not come when we want God. But God always comes on time!" God, whatever you call or don't call God, was present in the envisioning, planning, implementing, and on the busses of The Lavender Pen Tour!
And then the music! Let me say it again, And then the music! I have never been as moved as I was when the two groups let loose, and lifted the roof of the Church with their music. It is said, "Music has charms to soothe the savage beast". The savage beast we know as homophobic heterosexism, was more than soothed by the music. It was rendered helpless and irrelevant.
The LOVE that the singing created, lifted love to a level that some folk don't yet understand. I found myself in my mind and heart paraphrasing the words of a song; "If loving someone of the same sex is wrong, then our theological understanding of love is wrong!" The Lavender Pen Tour in its presence and singing at Brown's Chapel in Selma expressed the meaning of the 3 Greek words for love; Philia, Agape, and Eros (Brotherly/Sisterly love, I say God love, and Sensual love).
Neither Selma, Brown's Chapel Church, the members of the Tour, or Marilyn Bennett and Gil Caldwell, will be the same because of what happened on Monday in Selma. May what happened in Selma Not stay in Selma, but may it and the southern Lavender Pen Tour go down in history as a transformative moment, unlike any before.
I know Harvey Milk will be very, very proud!
Rev. Gil Caldwell
Co-Producer with Marilyn Bennett of the film; "From Selma to Stonewall; Are We There Yet?"