Sunday, December 10, 2006

my big fat social justice wedding

I can't believe how beautiful you all look. Radiant. Not a yard of pink taffeta in sight. And I see some of you have already found the champagne. Nicely done.

Let us begin with a reading:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Kahlil Gibran; On Marriage

And allow Mad and I to exchange our vows:

I, Jenny Talia, vow to keep earnest in my desire to be socially conscious; to allow my heart to be pressed by the ills of the world, and to respond accordingly; not out of personal gain but out of a burning desire to live in a just world. I promise to remain steadfast in the face of adversity, to challenge and allow myself to be challenged, and to do whatever is in my power, whether it be by voice or time or money, to speak out and, in turn, be spoken to. I promise to hold all of you in my heart, ever mindful that we have all come together to raise the next generation of humans, and that we are dedicated to leave them a legacy of kindness and justice.

I stand in awe of each of you, for giving of your time and soul and heart, for joining with us to stand together, committed to making the world a better place. For recognizing and honoring that we are all one.

And with this prayer on my lips and tears in my eyes, I thee wed each and every one of you.

Thunderous applause. One hundred kisses. Popping of corks. Joyousness. Making of merry.

Now tilt your heads slowly downward....we have a party to attend. And much to celebrate.

Deezee has offered the most beautiful wedding toast. De, you brought tears to my eyes with this and I am so deeply honored. And on top of the toast, she volunteered to DJ our affair. Her choices are below.

For your listening pleasure:

Pink: Dear Mr. President
Cat Stevens: Peace Train and Where Do the Children Play
Broken Social Scene: Puff the Magic Dragon
Antigone Rising: You're the Reason
RHCP: Higher Ground
Michael Andrews: Mad World
The Finn Brothers: Won't Give In
Moby: We Are All Made of Stars
Pete Yorn: On Your Side
Badly Drawn Boy: Magic in the Air
Neil Finn: Human Kindness
R.E.M: Shiny Happy People

And sweet J-Dog offered a few of his own (in hopes of getting in on the (girl) action:

Sly and the Family Stone: Stand!
Soundgarden: Hands All Over
Marvin Gaye: Mercy, mercy me (the ecology)
Thievery Corporation: Richest Man in Babylon
John Lennon: Imagine
24/7 Spies: Valdez 27 Million
Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi
Bob Dylan: Hurricane
The Wailers: Get up, stand up
Digable Planets: La Femme Fatale
Above The Law: Freedom of Speech
Spearhead: Crime to be broke in America

I could not have picked better music myself. And I can't believe how well some of you much better than a rhythmless

Feel free to hum along as we open the presents...and more wine? champagne? sparkling water? Allow me...


Many of you left your wishes in our comments, and spoke of your passion for gay marriage, for womens issues, for non-violence, and for peace. Many of you promised to strive to be more mindful in your daily choices, and keep the fires of justice alive. Many of you expressed your willingness to participate without posting. I thank all of you for adding your voices to the choir.

Let's first hear from my Maid of Honor. Andrea wrote a post so succinct, so perfect, so exactly spot on in explaining how we've gotten to now, and many thoughts on what we can do. Andrea, I vow to incorporate your wisdom as I try to live a more sustainable life, committed to being more conscious of the world around me. I vow to get my over 2 planet usage down. I do.

Mouse takes Andrea's words and holds them up to the light. She reminds me that it is so easy to rationalize our own wastefulness, and that by living more consciously, we can live in more congruence with our souls. And how important that is. And how unjustifiable my own excuses may sound. I will do better.

Sin talked about using Christmas for giving, and if mass consumerism doesn't sit well with your soul, then she offers a few tangible alternatives for good. Sin - I've heard about the foster family organization already, and I plan to join in January. Thank you for reminding me.

Oh The Joys and sweet Jenny over at mamadrama wrote so beautifully about poverty and hunger and gave us all some tangible ideas for getting involved. Some are as easy as a simple click of the mouse. Some may take a bit of re-working old perceptions, but the challenge is just and the impact is kind.

bub and pie spoke with such love about wanting to care for other mothers in need. About how easy it is to forget what it might be like to be all on your own, and how scary that must be. And she is doing something about it.

Daufiero, in her wise and thoughtful way, reminds us that we must speak out. That we have a voice to use and we should use it wisely. That we have more power than we think. And that is it our responsibility to stand up. Bravo.

Wise Chani talks to us about the difference universal health care would make in the US. And about the burden of illness resting squarely on folks who are already struggling to get by. And true to form, she shows her passion for exploited laborers, and how we can get involved in raising awareness about globalization.

Tabba gives us her passion for foster care kids. And how a broken system leads to broken children and broken adults. And how this will continue unless we do something about it. I've seen this first hand a hundred times, Tab, and my heart aches for the kids who simply want a home.

Jo and Kiki (Kiki, your dress looks amazing, sister...perfect for a bridesmaid) both spoke so passionately about domestic violence, and not only about the price the woman pays, but the societal toll. Senseless violence against our sisters has gone on long enough.

Mammaloves wrote a tremendous piece on the right to choose, and what an incredible gift having choice can be. And the beauty of that is, we can all choose the right thing for our lives without needing to inform others how to live theirs. It's our choice. She then followed up (two presents!) by exploring her personal take on social justice and what it means to truly pursue justice for all.

Neen's gift included a wonderful story about some amazingly strong women. And she didn't end there. In true CWKTBH fashion, she stood up and committed herself to several different causes, and challenged us to do the same. Her gift will go on and on. And I am clicking those links. I'll try and keep up with you, girl on fire.

Brilliant KC shared her thoughts on race and color, and about how our role in raising our children to understand and value diversity is so critical. And it's up to us. She knows first hand what a color filled childhood is like. Hat's off, sweet friend.

Carrie took a stand at her grocery store and stood up for human rights. She will not allow homosexuality to be disparaged, overtly or not, and she is putting her money where her mouth is. You go, girl.

Em reminds us that basic human needs are so easily forgotten as long as we can meet them and yet so incredibly critical if we cannot. And how the USA has a ways to go in honoring the rights of all children. We need more lights on than off.

My friend Deb over at Organized Chaos reminds us to vote, and when we vote, vote consciously. She is passionate about addiction and our criminal justice system and has such compassion for those who are struggling - and does something about it every day.

Susanne and Julie both brought gifts from the larger social context. Issues that permeate all other issues of justice. And how peace and reconciliation are so critical. And how we all have the power to forgive, and to remember, and to change our world for good, starting within our own hearts. Julie spoke specifically and acutely about the need for spiritual and emotional intelligence in those who lead our countries. Pause while I stand and wildly applaud you.

Crazymum talked about her friend Rosie, and how her father taught her to value the lives of everyone by his actions. I so hope I can impart the same wisdom and compassion to M.

motherwoman brought us to the specific and current, by reflecting on the lovely Kim family, and the courage and honor they showed in saving their children. Rest in peace, Mr. Kim. Your story and your courage touched so many of us so deeply. I hope you died peacefully, knowing you gave everything you had to save your girls. You are my hero. Rest in peace.

SwampWITCH follows by reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas - and how it can be much more about giving than purchasing, sharing rather than consuming. That is, if we choose it. And it's not always an easy choice.

NotSoSage reminds us of those struggling with addiction; and how we can either offer a judgmental stance or a compassionate embrace. And how harm reduction is so much more humane, and less fearful, than many might think. I agree with you, Oh, So Sage...absolutely.

And last but not least, the two most lovely MOTR and Momish remind us to care not only for humans but also for the smallest and meekest of creatures. About how we should care for all planet dwellers, and how we can choose with our dollars to improve the lives of animals. And in their honor, the wedding feast is 100% vegetarian.

Or perhaps we should just eat some cake.

And there are a few of you who have promised a belated gift, and when you are ready to offer them, let us know and we'll bring out the leftovers and pop some more champagne. Life showed up this week for many and just because today is wedding day doesn't mean the celebration is over.

Edited to say: Gifts keep flowing. Please go and see what Nancy just dropped off - she's already grabbed some wine and headed out to the dance floor. More gifts to come. And sweet Meno with her giving heart for creatures of various shapes and sizes....these two sure know how to groove. And juli, who brings multiple gifts and words of wisdom and truth...And sweet liv whose words are so important, and her heart so true in it's pursuit. And Sunshine. who gives of her heart and mind daily in her very good work and still managed to take time off and join us for a late night cuppa....There is more to come.

In fact, I was just getting to that....take another sip, crank up the wedding music, and read on.

And now we have presents for all of you. Mad has created the most lovely gift for me, and I in turn, give it to all of you.

The Just Post Award is Mad's brainchild. It is a precious and amazing gift, and one that will keep our wedding party going all year long. We will celebrate our anniversary on the 10th of every month, and will do so by calling for nominations for the Just Post Award on the 1st of each month, and Mad and I will offer the button and list all nominees and nominators every month on our anniversary.

And in honor of my gift, I in turn offer one to Mad. Mad, my gift to you is in raising awareness of a social justice issue each month when we unveil the Just Post awards. I promise to highlight a cause or solution that is tangible for all of us. I promise to show all of us that a small group of committed individuals can, indeed, change the world.

So as our wedding winds down, please accept our invitation to join our ongoing celebration. And whenever you read or post about doing good in our world, share it with us. And I'll make sure to remind you. I am pushy like that. I am the bride, after all.

I truly don't have words to thank each of you for sharing in our celebration. This has been an incredibly joyous week, filled with excitement and energy and power.

I am honored to hold hands in this circle with you. And I won't be letting go.

And lastly, to Mad, my partner in social justice anti-crime, I thee wed.

Let the hot girl (brain) on girl (brain) action continue.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful wedding. I raise my glass to all of you, and I'll be spending the next days reading all the wedding presents.

You both got me thinking a lot for the past days. I had forgotten how much I care about things social. I never write about them though. And for all my thoughtfulness the next post will be about one of my usual topics again.

But I'll be writing something about social and cultural things at least once a month. This I promise.

(And if ever learn how to put audio on my blog I'll send you a link to a song suitable for this wedding.)

You all look gorgeous by the way.

Momish said...

The big day is finally here!! You and Mad are radiant, two glowing beacons in the blogosphere!

May this union shine throughout forever and spawn lots of (brain) children. There is always talk about breaking the cycle of abuse, poverty, cruelty... you two have shown us how to nurture and ignite a cycle of love, empathy and justice.


I am off to mingle, which is the highlight of weddings in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jen,
A big first kiss of wedded bliss coming to you from me.

Anonymous said...

I (seriously) think I cried more reading all of this than I did at my own wedding.

We really do, all of us, look so beautiful. Espeically the ones who bring us all together today.

Can I add a song to the playlist? Revolution (It sounds like a whisper) by Tracy Chapman. Most, most fitting today.

What a beautiful day for a weddding. And I have to say that I am most proud to be a part of something so pure of heart. If you stop by my way today, I have a little something for all of you.
Much peace, love and rejoicing today. My heart feels light & my head feels clear. For the first time in a looong time.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome...really, truly.

Lovely, here, this day, simply gorgeous. :)


Off to mingle...

Anonymous said...

This is awesome...really, truly.

Lovely, here, this day, simply gorgeous. :)


Off to mingle...

Anonymous said...

This is awesome...really, truly.

Lovely, here, this day, simply gorgeous. :)


Off to mingle...

Juliness said...

Jen, my dear - I was delayed by my own myopic issues but I made it! I am here to cel-e-brate. You make a truly lovely bride and everyone looks so happy.

Thank you for inspiring all of us to Be Better. My gift, such as it is, has been posted.

Anonymous said...

It was a pleasure to wake up and re-read all of these messages. It's a good reminder. My age is showing as I don't know many of those songs mentioned. So I offer the following to the mix for your older guests:

A Change is Gonna Come: Sam Cooke

I was born by the river in a little tent
And just like the river, I've been running ever since
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
I don't know what's up there beyond the sky
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come

I go to the movie, and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me "Don't hang around"
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come

Then I go to my brother and I say, "Brother, help me please"
But he winds up knocking me back down on my knees

There've been times that I've thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come

Peace to all ~

~ Chani

Jenny said...

Awwww...I thought I was just a bridesmaid and here I am a bride! Hee!

Beautiful and inspiring.

Oh and I'm wearing my bridesmaid dress as we speak and having a little reception for you over at Mama Drama.

You guys rock.

acumamakiki said...

Wow! What a wedding. I had SUCH a good time and I didn't realize I'd get to experience you lovely ladies opening your beautiful gifts one by one, for all of us to see. And your music was divine ~ did you see me getting my groove on? (=
This is so inspiring and I'm glad to have been a part of your lovely nuptials! Now go enjoy your honeymoon, I'm going to go nurse a hang-over (psyche! i'm really going to go drink tea. my husband is in japan and i'm solo parenting style until next saturday.)

Anonymous said...

I came over from jenny at MamaDrama...and this is really inspiring. What a beautiful celebration and concept. Love the poetry and the music!! Congratulations!

KC said...

This is truly a joy-filled, mind and soul-engaging wedding. The goodness and passion are undeniable.

I am so honored to be part of the celebration and married to such worthy ideals.

And the monthly Just Post Award is indeed brilliant. (and pass the bubbly, I love feeling this giddy)

Jen and Mad, for putting this together, you both transcend earthly boundaries. Cheers friends.

PunditMom said...

It sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship! ;)

swampwitchfish said...

What a celebration and I plan to come back to click the links and read this week. For now, I have to do some decorating...adding a touch of garland to the scarecrow with a few Christmas balls for a festive look...
Signing off...swampfish...I mean swampwitch...What was in that bottle?

Nancy said...

Congratulations. What a beautiful ceremony -- all the brides are looking so radiant.

I have posted my gift. (I tried to send a trackback ping here, but I'm not sure it worked.)

Hope you enjoy. I really, really loved putting it together.

carrie said...

I am so glad the link worked!!

I am so happy to have found your little corner of the blog universe, and am inspired every time I read. Thank you for being a light, a presence and a voice for so many important issues. Thank you amd your partner for creatively coming up with this brilliant idea and sharing it with all of us. I can't wait to see all of your presents and I promise to continue to do my part.

I love, love, love the song list too!! All wonderful pics!

Cheers and Peace!


meno said...

Dearest Jen, and Mad, and many others. I finally got around to your present. This was a hard assignment for me. The first thing I wrote i thought i was ready to share, but i'm not. After that everything seemed too trivial. And it is, but you can always exchange it for a crock pot.


swampfishwitch said...

JEN ! Actually, I rather liked the name Swampfish...I am just so impressed of all the work you did last time. Makes my head "swim."
No pun intended.

jen said...

swampyfishwitch...i kinda like it too...

meno - your gift is perfect.

susanne, can't wait to hear more..we've got a pretty button all ready and waiting..
momish - how's the spread?
tabba dabba, that song is perfect...juliness..i'll add your gift to the table now..
chani, your words are terrific. i think this calls for another toast..
jenny - TWO receptions at once. I love it. you ho ho ho'er, you.
kiki, kc, claudia, how's the champagne? you look radiant..

nancy, carrie, meno, linky goodness already. i am toasting you now....

Anonymous said...

as I've been tipping back the G&T's with x-tra lime, I heard this:
and it made me want to hit somebody. After my 6th G&T, I become a sloppy drunk ;)

kim said...

I am so amazed. Sometimes I spend so much time thinking about what I should do that I never actually do anything.

Smart and beautiful women trying to change the world-I think I'm in heaven. People like you make me think that maybe just maybe I really can help.

Anonymous said...

As I commented over at Mad's end of the table, you two are amazing. Really, I've had to collect myself a couple of times while reading your posts today. But then, I always cry at weddings.

I will have a hard time getting some actual work done tomorrow what with all this tempting reading before me.

Anonymous said...

We just finished decorating the tree and I paused as I placed my White House christmas ornament closest to the star at the top. While I hung it I said a little prayer that my small action would help those currently inhabiting the structure to see the light.

And if they don't...this celebration is just the beginning of change we can make in 2008!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow - this was a great post and I love the poem, it is one of my all time favorites and very appropriate!

Jen, I hope you are taking a few days to bask in all this, and I have a lot of reading to do! Great music too, BTW...

Deezee said...

I am so completely overwhelmed with admiration here that I don't know where to begin. I have a lot of reading ahead of me.

I love the Just Post idea. Brilliant.

I don't know if you like this idea (now it's like I'm being Mother-in-law, offering advice before being asked!), but I wonder if you'd want to include a section for 'Baby Steps' where people could submit the small gestures they made that month to further the cause of social justice (for those of us who may not be able to pull off a monthly post on social justice, you know kind of in the spirit of my toast where small gestures count.)

And again, I can't say enough about what I feel you and Mad pulled together for your wedding. I see the beginning of a wave that will just grow and grow.

Congrats and start making babies for the forming just world... :)

Anonymous said...

deezee, I think that all of this is about baby steps. Anyone who writes a baby steps post or even a baby steps memo deserves the "Just Post" button.

This wedding after all started out as a baby steps, off hand proposal buried deep inside the comment structure of a post. And boy did it get big fast!!!

Andrea said...

This is lovely. I'm so happy to be part of it.

Anonymous said...

What a great time, and no hangover. I've read them all, I've taken note and I'll be incorporating so much of this into my future! Ah, I think I'm still drunk.

Thank you (everyone) so much for this, and best of all, for the follow through that will help us all keep on track.

Just awesome.

Anonymous said...

oh, who was that I woke up with this morning? I guess the champagne did its job... :)

Her Bad Mother said...

I'm glad that I was able to witness the wedding, having missed all of the preparations. Such a lovely union, that will no doubt bear the loveliest of progeny.

sunshine scribe said...

Such a lovely, perfect, amazing wedding. I read every word and look forward to devouring all the links to your gifts.

I wrote a gift too last Wednesday but I forgot to send the link to you (major wedding gift giving faux pas). I forgot because I am loopy like that but mostly because I was swamped last week (with the National Day of Rememberance to End Violence against women - in the sector I work in translates to many events and rallys and petitions and awareness making) and then also with "Her Bad Auction". I am sorry for being a bad wedding guest.

But I am so glad to have witnessed it now. Congrats to you inspiring amazing women.

Anonymous said...

Heya Sunshine,
I did link to your post from my wedding post but I didn't add you to the list of brides. I'm a little reluctant to make someone a bride unless they specifcally request it. Tonight (which is the next moment I get a chance), I will put you on the bride list and I am confident Jen will do the same.

Penny said...

Sounds beautiful.. after exams.. I'll get to reading all of your vows. :)

God Bless to all!

penelopeto said...

mazel tov! open bar, right?

Anonymous said...

What a lovely wedding, with not a bridezilla in sight! Thanks for reminding us about the impact we as bloggers can have on each other and the world.

Wacky Mommy said...

Hey. Congrats!!! This is the best wedding I've ever been to.

Anonymous said...

Lovely vows. Fantastic music. Beautiful wedding.

Sadly, I couldn't be there as we had guests all weekend. However, I have every intention of sending a belated gift later this week. I'll try to come up with something fitting.

Cheers to the wedding party!

Mouse said...

This whole thing has been amazing and a great reminder of the richness the blogosphere has brought into my life and how wonderful all of you are. I look forward to seeing the continuation of this momentum with the Just Posts.

Mommy off the Record said...

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

In the last month or so, I have been feeling that I wanted to dedicate more of my writing energy towards social justice issues, but I haven't known how to start or where. Writing is such a powerful tool and if we can use our blogs as a way to communicate about these important ideas then I think that is wonderful.

Congrats to you and mad hatter for putting this together.

ecm said...

Belated congratulations to you! What a wonderful idea. I look forward to reading through these wedding links.