On their last night before arriving in Portland, the Walkers for Truth, Justice, and Community spent the evening at the Episcopal Church in Oregon City, experiencing a Leap of Faith. Leap of Faith is an interactive play created by Act for Change as a way for people to explore the issues embedded into the battle for 'gay marriage'.
Based on the drama school known as Theater of the Oppressed, Leap of Faith tells a simple story of the damage to close personal relationships that occurs when a lesbian couple decide to get a Multnomah County marriage license, after a close encounter with a medical emergency . They are motivated by their love, and also by lack of health coverage for both partners and the simple ability to be there for each other in a medical situation. The play begins with the couple receiving support from a church friend at the hospital. It ends with this relationship rupturing over religious dogma around marriage.
Leap of Faith is played straight through one time for the audience to get the story line. It takes about 15 minutes. Then the play is re-done, with audience members encouraged to yell 'stop' at any point. If you yell stop, you make an intervention, and must play the role in a new way to create a different outcome. For example, when a nurse prevents one woman from seeing her partner in the hospital because she was not a 'family member', audience people replayed the role of the barred woman - saying she was a sister, saying she had doctor-certified permission. Others re-played the role of nurse, allowing the woman in as a 'sister-in-law'. Each intervention is discussed and analyzed with the crowd and with the actors.
It's a great game, tremendous fun, and also a weapon of struggle, allowing oppressed people to examine real situations and explore strategies for resistance.
The Rural Organizing Project, a sponsor for the Walk for Truth, was formed in the early 1990's to oppose the anti-gay ballot measures of the Oregon Citizens Alliance. The ROP has continually sought to connect the dots between the fight for gender justice and the fight against racism, economic injustice, and war. In 2004, George Bush succeeded in making those links crystal -clear. The Bush campaign 'nationalized' the issue of gay-bashing by engineering anti-gay marriage ballot measures in eight states and seeking to grand-stand with a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. Most agree that this strategy provided the margin to allow the Republicans to at least fake a victory in the election. Thus allowing Bush and Co to continue their real agenda of putting the country on a permanent war footing, diverting billions to corporate defense contractors, trashing the environment, the bill of rights and international law. Could a connection between the fight for gay rights and the fight for peace and democracy be any clearer?
YOU CAN JOIN THE WALK FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND COMMUNITY TOMORROW, JUNE 17, AT 12 NOON, IN WESTMORELAND PARK, CORNER OF SE MCGLOUGHLIN AND BYBEE. MARCH TO SENATOR GORDON SMITH'S OFFICE FOR A RALLY BEGINNING AT 4 PM. SMITH'S OFFICE IS AT SW 2ND & SALMON STREET, WORLD TRADE CENTER, DOWNTOWN PORTLAND. BRING THE TROOPS HOME, STOP THE TORTURE, FUND HUMAN NEEDS, NOT GLOBAL WAR.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO www.rop.org