Ed Team

What's Up With the Water?

Filed By Ed Team | July 13, 2006 12:02 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex

So I was having dinner with Bil and some other folks after the IE Region 8 Steering Committee meeting tonight, totally diggin' on the cool web browsing feature of my new LG "The V" phone that my boy Evan hooked me up with when Jerame commented on how nice he thought the INTRAA logo looked.

Bil chimed in with, "Yeah, but what's up with the water?"

To which Jerame replied, "It means we're all drips!" And well, he's not too far off-base.

It all goes back to when INTRAA was forming in 2002. We were holding bi-weekly meetings with about 8 of us working through heady stuff like organizational structure, goals, objectives, mission, vision, bylaws drafts, etc. We were talking about how to mobilize different segments of the community and what educational, political, and advocacy efforts would be required to really make a difference. We had flip charts filled on three of the four walls of the dining room we were meeting in and it dawned on me that if all this came together it would form a huge ripple effect not only within the transgender community but also within the larger LGBT and Allied communities.

We were organizing at the same time that ICON was really coming into its own, at the same time that the Indy Rainbow Chamber was launching, that Indiana Equality was in its early formative stages. Several of us had also come together to form a loose-knit Domestic Partner Benefits coalition that eventually spawned working groups that formed what is now known as the Greater Indianapolis Fairness Alliance. Lots of organizing energy was happening in several different locations both in Indianapolis and across the state. Each group that was forming and each individual in that group had a chance to make a real difference by banding together and creating a million "centers of energy."

That idea of the ripple effect from those centers of energy stayed with me. I knew I had heard a quote about it before, so when I got home, I went surfin' (see if I had only had my phone then ;-) to see who said something about the ripple effect of activism and -- lo and behold -- I found it:

Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

That ripple builds others.

Those ripples--crossing each other from a million different centers of energy--build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and injustice.

--Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 1966

And to this day that quote is printed on the front of our brochures, appears on the INTRAA splash page of our website and graces the INTRAAconnections newsletter that we publish.

So that's what's up with the water. We are essentially all droplets of water that working in concert from different centers of energy to sweep down the mighty walls of oppression. That is the essence of coalition work really.

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Marla R. Stevens | July 13, 2006 7:09 PM

Old Meg Christian tune:

Can we be like drops of water falling on a stone?
Splashing, breaking, dispersing in air
Weaker by the stone by far -- but be aware that,
As time goes by,
The rock will wear away.

In a world where you sometimes have to work for years to see that your work has made a difference -- if you're lucky enough to survive long enough to see it at all, these are words that comfort and inspire and which I advise all activists to stitch on their pillows and engrave on their hearts.

Thanks Marla. I love that Meg Christian lyric.

Here's some more water-related analogies from Lao Tse:

What is more fluid, more yielding than water? Yet back it comes again, wearing down the rigid strength which cannot yield to withstand it. So it is that the strong are overcome by the weak, the haughty by the humble.


As the soft yield of water cleaves obstinate stone, so to yield with life solves the insoluable: to yield, I have learned, is to come back again.