Inauguration Bleachers

From the Archive

Day 3 Update: Loving Persistent Resistance

This morning’s reflection led by Matt Bereza focused on the unseen laws that govern energy and the transfer of energy. In the 1600s a scientist named Leibniz developed a mathematical formula that came to be known as the Law of Conservation. Essentially, this law states that what is taken will be filled—this thought later gave rise to the laws thermodynamics.  While mathematical in nature, these theories can also be seen as philosophical. This morning we meditated on those things we have lost—food, our own space, time, and control over the thermostat. After contemplation, several members of the group responded with what has been conserving their energy.  Most notably, members of the circle spoke about community and the presence of others as nourishing.

The volatile and hostile political atmosphere in the country and here in the capital city prompts us to consider how we can take care of each other and our personal and communal safety and wellbeing. Protocols, contingencies and the roles of a security team were discussed. Especially in these coming days leading to the Trump inauguration, we recognize the need for more deliberate care.

The dramatic witness voicing the words of the men in Guantanamo was repeated near the White House as we joined the weekly vigil there that members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House has held there every Monday noon for many years.

We opened the space with words from Art Laffin. “If a member of our own blood family was imprisoned at Guantanamo, what would we want people to do to help them? We would certainly want a speedy and just resolution to their case. Yet 55 men have languished at Guantanamo, most for 14 years, not knowing their fate. We need to see the men at Guantanamo as members of our own blood family and act on their behalf. And so we come to the White House today, in the name of the detainees unjustly held at GITMO, to call on President Obama in his last days in office to fulfill his campaign promise of eight years ago and issue an executive order to Close GITMO Immediately!”

We continued to be creative and  amend our presentation. We have added these words inspired by Ghaleb al Bihani, as shared with us by the Center for Constitutional Rights, who while enduring his own unjust incarceration recognized his solidarity with the oppressed in the United States: I have been at Guantanamo for 15 years and I am a ‘forever prisoner’. I saw the news of people protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the stories of policies that use racial profiling and mass incarceration. These people are being treated like non humans, like us. We are trapped in Guantanamo in the same way that black people are on US soil. That is mass incarceration.


We could not approach the usual “free speech zone” on Pennsylvania Avenue due to the setup of the reviewing stands for the inauguration of Donald Trump as president on January 20. Our plea at the White House is to President Obama to keep his promise to close Guantanamo as the window of his opportunity to do the right thing closes. We rejoice in the recent releases of some of those unjustly bound, but we know that any vestige of the horrible prison that remains when Trump takes office will set the stage for more heinous violations of human rights in the coming years. Today, The New York Times, published an article entitled, “Trump Said ‘Torture Works.’ An Echo Is Feared Worldwide” explaining the effects of another pro-torture  U.S. president in the Global community.

Whatever comes, we pledge ourselves to continue our loving persistent resistance.

Learn more about our activities this week by checking out our  Daily Schedule, and January 11th: Call to Action,

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