Sparkling in the morning sun, the dragon greets us as we enter the plaza a few minutes early.
We gawk and click picture after picture like the most avid tourists. Somehow this bright color in the dreary plaza warms us.
We are giddy, like children, watching the sunlight play off her shiny scales, wondering what the people chosen to sit in the places of honor will think of their ride.
Will they be humbled at the respect shown to them? Or prideful? A little of both?
Standing in silence today, watching the parade of people pass my field of vision, I am reminded of the huge disparities between citizens of our land.
Something like Chinese royalty will ride in that float next week. Perhaps our mayor, San Francisco’s first Chinese mayor, will be among them.
I think of the horrors Chinese workers faced when they came to this country to build our railroads. They were used as a commodity, like grain, by the railroad bosses. Expendable. Work them to death. Plenty more where they came from.
I feel tears smarting my eyes as I accept yet again that my country was built on the backs and lives of slaves and near slaves.
So much of the wealth we enjoy today is a result of slave labor. Indeed, hardly a day goes by that I do not read of the slave labor, and near slave labor, employed in China, India and elsewhere to build our toys–our computers and smart phones and so much more.
I take a deep breath, ask for guidance.
How to tell this story so it is accessible to others, not just one more sad tale? Immediately, an idea comes, whole cloth. I will tell the story of my recurring nightmare about the people who built my iPhone.
I give gratitude for our stands. Though I seldom succeed in stilling my mind, almost always, I come away with some new insight or solution to a problem of conscience.
[Edit: You can read that story of my recurring iPhone nightmare here, on Building Ordinary, my personal blog.
Text and image © L Kathryn Grace – All rights reserved