One of the great enemies, in the Harry Potter books, is a type of being called a Dementor. These creatures bring gloom and despair, sucking all hope and spirit from out of their victims. To combat this, Harry and friends learn to cast a patronis, a powerful force whose origin is within the one who casts it. The patronis drives the hopelessness and despair of the Dementors away.
Years ago, hidden away behind the Civil Rights movement was a little known, but powerful institution called Highlander Folk School. Highlander, like Hogwarts, was a training facility that taught folks how to focus and discipline the magic of their personal power. Highlander taught folks how to find their voice not merely to resist empire, but to radically change the direction of empire.
Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, the Berrigan brothers, the Freedom Riders, all went through the training offered at Highlander. They were nurtured in the disciplines that taught folk how to offer hope and possibility into situations of doom and despair. Highlander taught folk how to stand up and strengthen their backbone, how to equip their minds for resistance, how to open their imagination for creativity, and how to open their hearts for the vision of liberty and justice for all.
We could use a Highlander here in Seattle. We could use a training place that teaches us to believe in our personal power, the magic within that casts away the gloom, doom, and despair of our time. In this day of growing tyranny brought on by a President who wants to be king, and a Congress bloated by the financial bribes of corporations, we need a renewal of people power that once gave rise to revolutionary vision.
A group of concerned citizens are beginning to form a Freedom From Fear Campaign. It is our way of casting a patronis. Our first action is largely symbolic, a shout out to the larger community to come and join us. We‚re going to take back 9/11 from those who use it to suck our spirit dry, and who try and turn our spines into jelly.
On Tues., Sept. 11, the Freedom From Fear Campaign will sponsor a funeral march for all that has been lost since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The silent march will begin at the Space Needle at 10:30am and proceed to Seattle’s major media centers, ending at Westlake Center. All who mourn the loss of innocent life, as well as the subsequent loss of democracy and civil rights, are invited to wear black and join the procession.
It’s a first step of many to follow. I think one of the next steps ought to be the creation of a Seattle Highlander Folk School. It’s time to reclaim our power. It’s time to drive the Dementors away.