When I was first asked to participate in The Ghostlight Project I was excited and accepted immediately. After recently attending and reviewing a similar event, I was picturing a superb evening filled with music, hors d’oeuvres and free prosecco.
I was wrong but in a good, albeit prosecco-free, way.
Once I read the press release, I started to panic. I had heard of the Ghostlight Project, and while I admired the organization’s purpose, as a straight, middle-class, Libertarian white girl with a fiance and a boring IT job, I had to ask the burning question: Was I the right person to be attending The Ghostlight Project?
Pushing my apprehension aside, I started to read what I could find online about The Ghostlight Project and their event at the BLUEBARN Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 19.
Inspired by the tradition of leaving a light on in a darkened theater, the Ghostlight Project is an affirmation of values for theaters, communities and individuals across the country. The event was described on their website as a “moment of gathering within a larger resistance to intolerance at all levels.”
At 5:30 p.m. in each time zone, we met with our light sources and with light hearts to contribute to the collective illumination. Attendees brought candles, both wax and battery powered, flashlights and some even used the flash on their smart phones.
The BLUEBARN Theatre offered permanent markers and the customary signage for the participants to fill out, reading: “I Am _____, I Fight For _____.”
Some wrote they were mothers wanting to fight for a better future for their children. Some wrote their gender identities and that they were fighting for their rights; one person was a playwright, simply asking for unity.
The event signified a reaffirmation of a network of people, spanning the nation, with the shared goal of supporting vulnerable communities.
Blue candles in tall glass jars adorned the counter inside the theatre. Outside, where we convened under the awning to avoid the misty weather, battery powered candles in paper bags lined the sidewalk. One man spoke about creating a brave space – where regardless of race, gender, religion, class, immigration status, disability, age, or sexual orientation – an individual could feel safe to be who they are and would always be welcome.
The idea is to encourage an environment for discussion, expression, activism and community engagement, both within and outside the walls of all the theaters that participated.
The atmosphere was hopeful, and many in attendance seemed to be old friends. After the event ended, small groups knitted together both inside the lobby and in front of the building as people embraced, buzzing with laughter and smiles.
Considering the current political climate, it was more than reassuring to be amongst those who have committed to social justice. It was inspiring.
When the theatre staff finally shooed us away and closed the doors, I walked home in the mist, quietly contemplating my involvement in the event.
When I got home, my fiance asked me, “So, were you the right person?”
The answer was simply, yes.
Because in the end it didn’t matter that I’m not a member of the LGBTQ community; it didn’t matter that I am neither Republican nor Democrat; it didn’t matter that all I really wanted was some free prosecco.
All that mattered was that I was there, shining the light of solidarity with those more vulnerable than I.