Saturday, October 30, 2010

When the telephone rings:

We never know what message awaits us when we hear the ring of the telephone. Quite different from reading an email. Over the years that familiar ring has delivered many different types of messages and stories to me. Friday afternoons usually bring a different message then do Monday mornings. Yesterday afternoon (Friday) when my phone rang I received a message I have been waiting to hear for nearly six years now.
This past August a Federal Court in Denver heard the case regarding Lucy A. Willie and other families of the Burnham, NM. community on the Navajo Nation whose lives, health, and way of life have been affected by the mining and extraction of coal. Some of the families have lost their homes and grazing permits to the mining operation. Ceremonial and grave sites have been desecrated. Lucy and her family were in the direct line of the mine expansion. For the past six years the constant threat of a knock on the door with an order to leave her home lingered in Lucy's daily thoughts. You know the story if you have followed this blog and viewed the stories on Question of Power.

Little did I realize the ring of my telephone yesterday would be a ring for social justice.
The court decision was released. The mining permits issued by the U. S. Office of Surface Mining had been done improperly over the years. The permits neglected to include consideration for the National Environmental Protection Act, clean water, ethnographic studies, and historic and cultural resources. For Lucy, her family, and community members, the decision brings peace to their lives. The immediate threat of being removed from their homes for mine expansion has for the present time been removed.

I spoke with Lucy on the phone shortly after I received the call. Her voice carried a very happy tone. We laughed together. Then she said, "almost a year to the day since Ambrose has passed, I know he is happy to hear the news." I told Lucy how proud I was of her for standing so very strong through these times. Persevering with purpose and passion. Believing and standing for social justice.

This Friday phone call had a very good ring to it.

be strong, be safe, Carlan