At the spur of dawn, dozens of volunteers dressed in white and love for humanity ran around with sheets of papers, posters, ribbons and tables, to make sure they welcomed the honorary walkers like they deserved.
One by one, the hope bearers came, in colors, in smiles, in strength, in unity. They registered while the volunteers greeted them with smiles on behalf of every single child who was being helped today.
A few months back, two volunteers took the first steps while a battalion of harbingers joined in. What had started as an idea for an event a few months back had become an important landmark in each of their lives. All of them tread on a path with their strong torches and hearts filled with care. They chanted the prayers of the children while they stomped every foot on the ground with determination to fulfill dreams.
Weeks before this Saturday, words were passed along to those who lived miles away from us. Today, each of them walked with us, despite of being thousands of miles away, through every $25, through every kid's education, through every thoughtful move, through every effort.
The words of Nelson Mandela were repeated in the spirit of child rights, “There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.” A crowd of us stood facing north bowing to the two flags that sway in proud wind, flags of United States of America and India. We beamed with pride while a 12 yr old sang America’s prestige and a Mom sang India’s honor.
CRY Detroit’s initiator stood on a pedestal and led everyone through an emotional journey of the cause and the reason we all cared. We didn’t have to say it. Everyone knew why. As three girls mounted their feelings in the form of a beautifully enacted skit, everyone sat spellbound and teary-eyed. We all witnessed ourselves on the right; the ones who lived happily but wished we were all there on the left, for the ones who barely lived.
And then we walked. Our care today might have stretched three miles long but with each mile we remembered, we supported, we commemorated, we recognized, we protected, we gave and we cared.
As a Henna painter painted everyone’s hands in shades of orange and green, she etched feelings of patronage in each of the lives. As a green clown with a cherry nose, walked around spreading smiles and bubbles of laughter, painting faces with fairies and mermaids, she led them to the road to compassion.
Today as everyone walked, watching the light grow in their eyes, seeds were sown. Seeds of hope, of a better tomorrow, of a better future, of a better life for millions of all the children who sang in unanimity, “mera bhi toh adhikaar hai, jivan ki har khushi par, zindagi par (lt is my birthright, to be happy, to live )”.
Today, we walked. We put our best foot forward and fought for that adhikaar (right). We walked for happiness. We walked for life.
Today, we walked.