We gathered on the Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic orange bridge in orange shirts, hats, scarves and pants. We marched across the bridge as part of a national movement to raise awareness on the urgent need to stop gun violence in our communities and schools. Cars passed and honked their horns in solidarity.
In a recent interview one student from Santa Fe High School noted that she expected a shooting. “I’ve always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too.” As we walked across the bridge to raise our voices against gun violence, we talked about the frequency of the shootings and the horror of students just expecting a shooting to happen one day in their school.
Yet, amidst the sea of orange, sadness, frustration and anger something unexpected happened. As we were discussing the fear, loss and tragedy, all of the sudden, hope sprang up from below us. There from the top of the bridge looking down a whale breeched. We stopped in wonder and awe as this amazing animal dove and breached right below us. We could see her entire body even when it was under the surface of the water. This whale then appeared to follow us as we crossed the bridge while she fed in the currents below. Then, amazingly, four more whales appeared in a frenzy of feeding activity below us. Then they started going in the direction we were all going. Did the whales actually join our march?
In a moment, the unexpected had happened. Amidst fear and tragedy, we saw beauty and inspiration. We stopped on the bridge and cheered in joy.
We marched on to hear stories from teachers, mothers, wives and students who are navigating through tragic losses. We heard students who enter their classrooms always checking…where would I go? Yet some how, that moment of the unexpected buoyed our spirits and gave us energy to chant…”Yes we can” stop the violence.
As I looked back out over the water I saw one more whale breech. She seemed to be joining our voices and calling back, “yes you can!”