This past Saturday morning I was up at 4:45 to shower and get ready to pick up a colleague at 6:15. Good thing I was up by then because she was calling me at 5:30 am to make sure I remembered the children's movies.
Saturday was our biannual convention. Two years ago several of the gubernatorial candidates came to speak to our members. They are community organizers, builders of affordable housing, youth leaders, non-profit board members, housing counselors at the forefront of the foreclosure crisis and advisers to small businesses which often provide the only jobs in distressed neighborhoods. Some of them bring their children to spend the day with other youngsters playing games, reading and watching movies. Two years ago we had the largest turnout to one of our conventions - 650 - due in large part to people wanting to see the Democratic Candidate, Deval Patrick.
This year we thought we would be lucky if we broke 500. We weren't sad about that but had planned accordingly. An amazing thing happened - we kept getting more and more registrations even though our big "star" speaker was on of our Representatives in Congress. He is in the thick of the market meltdown. We surpassed 650 and it kept climbing. At one point we had over 40 kids signed up for childcare. Suddenly we were facing a convention with more people than the space could hold. More people than we had bought food for. As staff, we had to promise not to eat or take a seat.
We were packed up against the walls. But the energy stayed positive thanks to two dance performances. There are no videos or songs to post so please use your imagination. A hodge-podge of hip-hop, old school rap and funk played throughout a posh hotel ballroom as teens of different races and ethnicity came up to dance their hearts out. These were kids from two cities hardest hit by foreclosures in our state. They know families thrown out of their homes, walk past boarded up buildings that are being gutted by arson, and watching what were once lively, vibrant neighborhoods disintegrate before their eyes.
And they danced. And several of the girls wore tutu skirts over their leggings or pants. It was a wonderful image. The splash of pink or white tulle as the arms and legs were flying, as the faces hardened then brightened, as they danced.
Please join in Music Monday. Just remember if you plan to use little Mr. Linky below then write a post about music (you can even just post your current favorite song) and link back to me. Music always makes Monday a little bit easier.