Bedford Mothers out Front Delivered ‘The Earth’ to the 2015 HONK! Festival

Janet Powers and The Earth, on the Minuteman Bike Path in Lexington, on the way to Harvard Square for the HONK! festival - Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved
Janet Powers and The Earth cycling along the Minuteman Bike Path in Lexington, on the way to Harvard Square for the 2015 HONK! festival – Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved

Submitted by the Bedford’s Mothers out Front Community Organizing Team

If you were out for a bike ride on the Minuteman bike path the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend, you may have passed a giant papier-mâché earth on a pedal-powered float ridden by Janet Powers from Bedford. “I heard every cliché and song in the book on the way. People would sing ‘It’s a Small World After All’ and say ‘You’ve got the whole world on your shoulders!’” She and friend Joel Parks took turns pulling the giant papier mache earth 26 miles to Harvard Square and back to represent Bedford’s Mothers out Front group in HONK!, the annual activist marching band festival.

Leading the HONK! parade in Harvard Square - Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved
Leading the HONK! parade in Harvard Square – Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved

The Mothers out Front groups are mothers and other caregivers working to transition society away from fossil fuels to clean energy and speaking out about the danger climate change poses to future generations. HONK! is a musical street festival now in its tenth year. HONK! organizers describe “a new type of street band movement emerging — outrageous and inclusive, brass and brash, percussive and persuasive — reclaiming public space… These bands don’t just play for the people; they play among the people and invite them to join the fun. They are active, activist, and deeply engaged in their communities.” The HONK! Festival starts on Columbus Day weekend’s Friday night and Saturday with bands playing in multiple staging areas around Davis Square and concludes with a day-long spectacular parade of musicians joined with community groups, artists and activists working for myriad social and environmental causes moving  from Davis to Harvard Square.

Courtesy images from the HONK! Festival (c) 2015 all rights reserved – click each image to see it at full width

Bedford's Mothers Out Front community organizing team coordinator Carlough Faulkner-Carroll with Janet Powers and The Earth in Harvard Square - Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved
Bedford’s Mothers Out Front community organizing team coordinator Carlough Faulkner-Carroll with Janet Powers and The Earth in Harvard Square – Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved

The Bedford Community Organizing Team (COT) and their giant earth float met up with about 30 members of Mothers out Front groups from Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Belmont, Weston and other towns. Carlough Faulkner-Carroll was inspired to start the Bedford COT after seeing the Mothers out Front banner in a prior HONK! parade. This year Carlough enjoyed being able to offer encouragement to a number of people just trying to start their own COTs. “It’s so powerful to know that all of these women are contributing their time, energy and passion to a livable climate for our kids,” she said. “It fills you with hope and that’s a beautiful thing!”

Janet Powers, who rode the earth float, shared that “It really feels like a sisterhood. We are fighting for change which is hard, but at the same time it feels full of hope and joy.” The parade itself inspired its participants and spectators to feel the optimism generated by high spirited and fun music, costumes and dancing. Janet observed that “folks seemed to connect with the Mothers out Front flags the Cambridge group made of suns and windmills… We also got positive responses. It is fabulous how folks, young and old, have a deep, open and excited response when they see a model of our glorious planet. I think it touches a chord within most of us that is tough to describe.” She noted that the “homemade” nature of the parade with its live and loud acoustic music, costumes, puppets and human powered floats made it more real and accessible than most of what is encountered in daily life. “This parade reminded me that we all have something to offer and it is special to share what we’ve got with those around us.”

Janet Powers appreciated the help and support she received making the float with the Mothers out Front members in Bedford as well as Suzy and Dave Enos who shared their space, mechanical know-how and equipment, and from First Parish community members who pitched in. Her husband Chris Yannoni biked back and forth ahead of them managing street crossings. And the people who were just out for a stroll or ride on the bike path that day? Janet said it was really fun: “so many wonderful, curious, supportive and surprised follow path users, despite our extraordinarily wide and slow load!”

Along the bike path - Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved
Along the bike path – Courtesy image (c) 2015 all rights reserved

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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