As it turns out, it was well worth venturing out on Saturday despite the rain to attend the Green Festival at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Since the election process, I have felt a lingering desire to stay connected to my people – and here they were – those who might re-shape tomorrow. Visionaries, inspirational speakers, teachers, inventors and regular folks like you and me, dedicated to finding alternative ideas and lifestyles. Once inside, my somber mood lifted as I caught the wave of excitement in the air as we anticipated Democracy Now! host, Amy Goodman, and her talk, Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope, also the title of her new book.
In Amy’s talk she reminded us we must stay motivated, activated and connected. Yes, we’re tired but those of us who joined forces to help President Obama get elected must now stay united to force him to govern as we wanted him to in his first term, as he probably wanted to govern, but we were not a loud and mobilized voice behind him. This term it must be different. Those of us fighting for women’s rights, immigrant, gay and worker rights, environmental concerns, issues of the poor and the middle class, we must all stand together in solidarity, as one united force, insisting, demanding, using what ever peaceful means we have at our disposal to urge President Obama to create the legacy we know he is capable of and to be the President we all believed he would be. He has to be able to look outside his window and see us there, knowing we will all storm the bastille should he give in to interests that run counter to ours. He needs to be able to say to those rich and powerful forces, the will of the people is strong and they are watching. They elected me and I have a mandate to do the will of the 99%. Amy went on to give voice to the failures of the corporate media and touched on the work of ordinary people changing the world. People like every one of us sitting in the audience.
Energized by her advice, my step was lighter as I continued walking the aisles of the Green Festival exhibitors, stopping to chat with potential radio show guests, sampling new and interesting vegan food, and listening to the many insightful presenters on the many stages. Besides the Main Stage, there were stages dedicated to Green Living, Fair Trade, Green Businesses, Good Food, Community Action, Green Kids, DIY activities, as well as ongoing events in the Movement and Yoga Pavilion. Yes, there was much to do and see, including an eco-fashion show and homes made of an assortment of alternative materials. Animal rights groups like Mercy for Animals were paying attendees $1 if they would take the time to view short films on factory farming with tips on meat-free eating.
If one was looking for a new direction or wanted to get involved in being a part of changing the world, the festival certainly offered many options to start along that journey. Besides Amy Goodman, other speakers included Sandra Fluke who spoke about Women and Girls Leading Us Forward. Jon Robbins discussed Food Revolution 2012, BBC reporter, Greg Palast revealed hilarious and sick stories of the billionaires who are bankrolling the GOP, with hot info on the Koch Brothers – and the list went on and on. Yes, the Green Festival is not like many other conventions, where people are just there trying to sell things. The Green Festival is a portal to finding our way forward as we all do our part to help reshape the world into a more sustainable future for us all.
For more information on the Green Festival, check out greenfestivals.org