Friday, January 5, 2018

Stroll and Roll

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That's why I started the Stroll and Roll 6 years ago.  

My idea was to have Each One Take One - every grown up grabbing a youngster and ambling along CTG's path.  I envisioned school kids and Assisted Living residents and middle school bands creating lively chaos on Tucson's northwest side.

For the most part, except for the bands, that's what happened.

I was a committee of one until the day of the event, when GRIN volunteers and participants in Cornell Cares Day stepped up to the occasion and gave out shirts and chalk and hugs.  
It was an exhausting process, but one that helped to bind my anxiety as I struggled with the oncoming anniversary of the worst day of my life. As long as I was busy, I wasn't dwelling in the sadness..

But then the busy overtook the sadness, and became a crushing weight of its own.
The permitting, the arranging, the gathering, the sorting, the signage, the publicity.... I'm sweating just typing it out for you here right now.  By last year, it had become a party for my friends; I knew 99% of the Strollers and Rollers.  I decided that I had reached the end of my tenure as the doyenne; I was done.

No one begrudged my stepping down.  Everyone understood.  Some people were sad, and one was sad enough to step up and do something about it.  Pat Maisch, my hero, the woman who grabbed the magazine as our shooter was trying to reload, the mom who shook her finger in his face and yelled Look what you've done!, the citizen who was arrested for calling Shame on you! from the balcony of the Senate to the members below, who voted down a gun safety bill, the person who carries the mantle of January 8, 2011 wherever she goes - Pat Maisch asked if she and her group of women of a certain age could take it over and keep it going.

I agreed with a smile.  We met in the Fall and I turned over all my paperwork, my scribbled notes, my contact sheets, and my advice.  I've spent the weeks since that meeting baking brownies and writing letters and reading books and visiting FlapJilly and not once did I worry if something had been filed or paid for or organized.  It's been a wonderful lead up to an awful anniversary; I was so right to let go of the planning.

And then, today, in response to my quarterly GRIN email to my volunteers, wherein I had explained the change, I received this from Pat:

Suzi, thanks for the shout out. We welcome any GRIN members who want to participate in the Stroll and Roll. We are an unorganized group of activists who want this event to continue in the vein you started.
And, thanks for your work in starting this touching and meaningful Beyond event. Forever grateful for your excellent idea to remember those killed and wounded, both physically and emotionally,  on January 8, 2011. This event remembers all but certainly focuses on the youngest taken that day....beautiful, little, nine year old Christina-Taylor Green.  What a spitfire she would have been at 16 years old. 
So ask your GRINNERS, from me personally, to join the fun and celebrate the lives of those who are now only with us in spirit. 

If you're in Tucson on Saturday, January 13th, come and Stroll and Roll with us.  I'll be there, as a participant, with plenty of hugs to spare.  The details are in the link.


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