ethel’s words

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FOUR STOOD UP

A recollection, dear to my political heart, slipped into my awareness a few moments ago, and brought with it a question that had not been attached to it before: It was the remembered image of four persons, a Mormon, a Jew, a Navajo, and a woman (I was the woman) who stood up and held hands in the coliseum at the Utah State Fair Grounds--when the Coliseum was packed to the brim with persons protesting the U.S. war against Viet Nam--and somehow, in that great crowd, were noticed, and everybody stood up. It was a moving experience of shared motivation that had had no words, no leader, but had no doubt.

We came together to the anti-war rally. What occurred to me in this recollection was the question: How did we four find each other? Each of us had group experience of deprivation of equality in the Yankee-American political landscape. We did not come together and meet at a rally or meeting drawn by common interest. We were all devoted to ending military violence, but we met through some other event. I am not sure, but maybe I met my Navajo friend at a U of U campus protest: as an anti-Mormon Church protest, an effigy of Joseph Smith was hanged--west of the Student Union (now called the A. Ray Olpin Union).

As I recall, there was little publicity to the hanging. Oh, now I remember: Smith was hanged on the statue of a Ute Indian. How convenient. How appropriate.

But four persons somehow came together, and with a totally unplanned response to their own impelling emotions, moved a crowd to stand and for some moments have a sense of sharing a common humanity.

Ethel C. Hale

 

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