It is not easy, as people talk for weeks about their intended "grubbing" on that day. But I made a choice long ago to never celebrate massacres.
This year I thought to write a letter to Leonard Peltier, an indigenous political prisoner whose book, PRISON WRITINGS: my life is my sun dance, I read in 2002.
Dear Brother Leonard,
I heard your daughter speak today. I sat in the Ring, on concrete, at the indigenous sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz. I cried as I heard her ask if we have forgotten you.
You are not forgotten. You are loved. You are my inspiration.
Your name and your story are introduced to people daily.
I am a strong daughter of this land because my blood line knows this soil as freedom and captivity. I am a child of this land with a thirst for knowledge, a thirst for peace, a thirst for love. I value every moment with deep breaths, hearty laughter, and carefully chosen words.
My father, too, is held in a prison surrounded by the beauty of Lake Tahoe. Each time I visit I think of you, and Mumia, and Sundiata, and George, and Assata (still forced to live so far from those who love her).
When it was a reality, a man of mixed race and an international perspective would be president, my first thoughts were of you, Mumia, and Assata coming back to us. I will not stop praying for this. And I am sure, beyond bringing the troops back from the Middle East, Universal Healthcare, and transforming American's relationship to the planet, your releases will be the most important thing he does in his presidency.
Thank you for being an example of patience and persistence, love and rebellion.