Sunday, June 15, 2008

Remembrance Ritual

Saturday, June 14, 9 a.m. was gathered at the E-18th Pier at Lake Merritt for our annual libation for the ancestors. It was really special. I arrived later than planned, so I saw my friend Karla leaving as I was parking. She had her dog and placed flowers on the hill near the water. I only had 1 minute to spare so I poured libations for ancestors while I waited for others to arrive. Sister Carol Afua said she'd been looking out of her window for us before she came out of Rose of Sharon apartments where she lives, just across the street. We sat on the stairs, joined by Zakiyyah. Baba Alaman told me he had to catch two buses to get to the pier from North Oakland where he lived. Sister Jeri, Nefertina, her daughter, Elaine and Pam joined us.

Later on, an Amharic family joined us too. The wife said a prayer, which her husband translated. It was so beautiful. Sister Carol brought flowers for all of us to share. Many brought water, poetry to share, and Baba Alaman brought copies of the Black Family Pledge, other sacred writings and some really wonderful reflections by Mama Maya Angelou. I hadn't realized the woman was so deep.

We recited the pledge together, I read part of Baba Alaman's reflections on our ancestors. The day was lovely, not too hot--just perfect. Afterwards, I walked the Lake and ran into B-Dot from the annual poetry celebration at the West Oakland Branch Library, I host in February.

Everyone agreed that Pier 18 was the spot,; however, next time we'd have to get drummers to wake up the corner and let people around know we're here. Nonetheless, Sister Jeri brought her chere, whose string broke, the scattered beads lying on the asphalt near her feet.


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