Even though we (I) had REALLY wanted to make it to Palm
Springs in time to visit the First Nation sacred land there, we don't pull into the
city until dusk. We drive down the main drag and park so everyone can see the truck.
We jump out our vehicles, grab banners, flyers, and song sheets and find a great corner
by the plaza that crosses the main road, to set up. We hang our banners back-to-back so that people
driving down the main drag can see one side and people walking on the
sidewalk also have a great view of our bold, black
messages: Black Womyn's Lives Matter: FREE MARISSA NOW.org!
Once our banners are secure, we begin singing and handing out flyers.
Traffic is sparse but steady, pedestrians are few but this allows us to
talk with everyone, the curious interested folks along with the extremely bored! Most people are not from Palm Springs and those few
that stop to talk, promise to bring Marissa's name back to their town.
A gay white couple put three one dollar
bills into out donation box while a straight white family of four listen
carefully to Lajuana explaining Marissa's story.
A young creamy brown womon with a chubby wide-eyed baby perched on her hip,
joins Jasi & I as we walk down the sidewalk on our way to the truck to get
him additional toys. Jasi foists a little purple Free Marissa flyer into her
child's flailing hands while I attempt to recall enough Spanish to explain
Marissa's story to her.
The mother wide eyed and struggling to understand, grabs the flyer and intently studies the print as
a tear slips down her cheek. "My mother, mi madre," she chokes out, "esta muerta.... asesinada." Oh no, I embrace her as I murmur how sorry I am, lo siento, lo siento - muy triste.
Mujasi puts his arms around both of us and tries to hand her baby one of his cars.
Before we part, she fiercely promises me she will read more about Marissa and do what she can.
a couple hours on the streets of Palm Springs, it starts getting too chilly to hang out, so we begin
to close down. A realtor approaches us - a local white and gay boy - who
points to his 2nd story office around the corner and tells us he came
down because he heard us singing.
He promises to send an email out with Marissa's story to his list of 356 local realtors!
short white male speaking heavily accented English and decked out in a
very expensive suit with an equally expensive camera on his shoulder
begins filming us. He tells us about the international film festival
that's happening now in Palm Springs - but we missed the 8pm opening and
folks probably won't get out until 10:30 or 11 - we can't stay this
claims to be a journalist and promises to send our pics far and wide,
especially in the media outlets he works for. Kata has his info...we'll
have donated salads, bagels, sandwiches we consume as we head out of
town. The desert sky is blacker than 30 leagues under the sea and the
stars brilliant pinpoints of crystal shimmering white, just stunningly
drive to the first rest stop and spend our second nite on the road
snuggled in sleeping bags and blankets inside the camper and the expo,
steaming up windows and breathing heavy to warm us up.