My wife and I have just returned to our home in Asbury Park after spending three wonderful and magnificent days in Helena. I was in Helena to meet with my longtime friend and colleague Marilyn Bennett Alexander to launch the filming and multimedia portion of our “Truth in Progress” project. This project will seek to explore the similarities and differences between the black and gay civil rights movements. Our hope is that our project will serve to help bridge the gaps between these two civil rights movements, but also the “distances” that exist between so many of us when we have so much in common.
Being in Helena forced me to realize again that the tensions between Americans because of regional, political, religious or any other differences are so foolish. As Grace and I began our plane ride back to the East, and looked down at the mountains, I asked her, “Why are the mountains in Helena and Montana so much more powerful in their impact upon me than were the mountains we saw during the eight years we lived in Denver?” She said, “Because they are closer.”
Our time in Helena was another moment when I was reminded that in the U.S., “We are Family.” And then, the tragedy in Haiti reminded me that “We are the World.” These two songs capture what Marilyn and I want to express in “Truth in Progress.”
The Rev. Gil Caldwell
Asbury Park, N.J.