A World that Works for Everybody


Susa Silvermarie speaking at the Ajijic Womens March 2018

A World that Works for Everybody
talk by Susa Silvermarie at Ajijic Women’s March 2018

On January 21 last year, women of all ages and walks of life took to the streets, five million strong on all seven continents. Today marks a continuation of the work of changing the world—each of us one by one, and, each of us united—the work, yes, no less, of changing the world. Like the world-wide Women’s March last January, the largest protest in U.S. history, we stand in solidarity with women all over the world. We declare that women’s rights are human rights, and we connect to all other progressive movements—for racial equality, for protection of the natural environment, for gay rights, immigration reform, for healthcare reform, to dismantle the war machine, and for multiple other progressive causes.

As women we bind the movements into one resilient strand. As women, we understand that focusing on a single identity can be a path to prejudice. We grow beyond identity politics, to become kindred spirits on parallel pathways- creating a world that works for everybody.

In whatever local or global avenue our heart guides us to contribute our personal effort, we are part of this broad movement toward a sustainable planet. As women and men who share a vision of healing for our Mother Earth and all earthlings, we are an international alliance of peacemakers.

We all know it’s been a tough past year for maintaining hope. Here’s a poem from the writer Ellen Bass to remind us how to carry on:
To Love Life

The thing is
to love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it,
and everything you’ve held dear

crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it…

Then, you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you,
I will love you again.

The Israeli poet Yehudá Amichaí has a poem I want to share about righteousness. From the politics going on in the US, we’re getting a closeup view of just what self-righteousness looks like— from the outside. Amichaí urges us to notice it and root it out from the inside of ourselves as well.
The Place Where We Are Right

From the place where we are right,
flowers will never grow.

In the spring the place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves—
dig up the world
like a mole! like a plow!

And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined house
once stood.

When people feel certain they are the only ones who are morally justifiable— no progress gets made, the ground is “hard,” and no “whispers” of peace can emerge. But now we are in a great wave of transformation, a Turning Time of human evolution. Smack dab in the middle of the short-view, and the chaos that is currently unfolding, we are being called upon to contribute a longer view— what Amichaí calls “the doubts and loves”, the uncertainties, that dig up the world.

We can do this! Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminds us, Friends, don’t lose hope— We were made for these times. I will end with a poem of my own, called
One Thousand Years of Healing

From whence my hope, I cannot say,
except it grows in the cells of my skin;
in my envelope of mysteries, it hums.
In this sheath so akin to the surface of the earth,
hope whispers.  Beneath
the wail and dissonance in the world,
hope’s song grows. Until I know
that with this turning
we put a broken age to rest.
We who are alive at such a cusp
now usher in
one thousand years of healing!

Winged ones and four-leggeds,
grasses and mountains and each tree,
all the swimming creatures,
even we, wary two-leggeds
hum, and call, and create
the Changing Song. We remake
all our relations.  We convert
our minds to the earth.  In this turning time
we finally learn to chime and blend,
attune our voices; sing the vision
of the Great Magic we move within.
We begin
the new habit, getting up glad
for a thousand years of healing.

©Susa Silvermarie 2018





Caravan of Central American Mothers

Where are they, where are they? Our children, where are they?

Looking for Life on the Path of Death

In The Caravan of Central American Mothers,
the women wear their photo placards.
What if, instead of their sons in the photos,
it was my own, hanging over my heart?
The Caravan of Central American Mothers
makes their children’s absence visible.

Were it my son disappeared,
I, too, would make the pilgrimage
searching for our children,
migrants disappeared in transit through Mexico,
my private maternal grieving, too,
transformed to  maternal activism.


Every year for the past thirteen,
the mothers have traveled across Mexico
searching for children gone missing
while migrating from Central America.
Every year protesting policies
that cause violence against their children.

Travelling the routes taken by migrants,
they spread pamphlets, raise awareness,
and hold protests, all the while
combing towns, bars, graveyards,
prisons and boarding houses, following clues
seeking their missing children.

Their vulnerable children,
not criminals, but international workers,
caught between the drug war and what is called
border ‘securitization’, aping the US,
which has shamefully withdrawn
from UN talks promoting safe migration.

Their children from Guatemala, Honduras,
El Salvador and Nicaragua
tried to flee from gangs and poverty and crime,
but found in Mexico, more danger;
cartels who kidnap and traffic,
kill and enslave them.

Were it my son’s photo corded around my neck
on a laminated plastic placard,
his name and disappearance date beneath,
would I have the courage to embark
on this journey to follow his footsteps
to the poorest and most dangerous parts of Mexico?

Even on the train tracks in Tabasco
where migrants climb on the train called the Beast
from southern Mexico to towns on the US border,
a place on the migration route where
kidnappings, rapes and extortion are common,
even here the mothers make their inquiries.

Seventy thousand are missing,
but for two hundred and seventy-one mothers,
who slept in migrant shelters along the route
and clung to fragile hope,
the miracle of reunion has come to pass.
Adelante! Anima! Soy con Ustedes!

©Susa Silvermarie 2017

The demand of justice for the disappeared migrants has been the work of women. From domestic violence and violence within communities, women are opposing wars and challenging systems of injustice. Across the globe, women are fighting against a violent patriarchal order and demanding a just new world. The horrors that haunt the Central American migrant’s route is matched only by the endless love of a mother. “A mother’s love never runs out,” is the Caravan’s refrain. May it be all of ours.


Her Face a Treasure

photography by Susa SilvermarieConchita’s face fills my doorway
like a dream I know.
A teacher mother come again.
The day before Navidad,
we share food
at one another’s homes.
We sit on cardboard, compañeras,
sharing guisado from her cookfire.
Then we walk to my casita,
for coffee and licuados.
A day of drawing closer, even though
we can barely comprehend
one another’s life. I don’t even know
which is her Mayan language.
Her Spanish is hard to understand.
But her presence, so strong,
feels familiar, calming. True.
Her unforgettable face in my doorway
bestows a treasure.

©Susa Silvermarie 2017

photography by Susa Silvermarie