/ In the Midst of Angels


We walked another neighborhood very similar and very close to the one we walked the previous Sunday. Oh, how sweet this walk was. And, oh, how life giving this walk was. And, oh again, how our Belonging Revolution is so important to people in our community notwithstanding how old, what race or ethnicity, what gender, what income level, what point of views people have!

No question, we walked a neighborhood where the loudest activists for finding and deporting undocumented people would have found a very rich target. But as we walked and met with people, it became abundantly clear that their conversations with Mike put many people at ease. The question and concern that is going through people’s minds is will we elect a president who will establish a deportation force to round up all those who are undocumented. After talking with Mike, people felt safe; they felt valued; they felt heard and they felt a sense that they could continue with their lives – raising and providing for their families. And most importantly, they truly felt they belonged to our community and to all of us. Everyone said yes to Mike’s invitation to have their voice heard and to become a part of creating a community in the future that is distinct from the one in the past. They began to see through the lens of different possibilities brought about their own resources and expertise. The power of people feeling safe and appreciated is immense and the gifts people bring are absolutely priceless!

We were in midst of ANGELS. About half way during our walk, two young boys on bicycles approached us and asked Mike if he was really the police chief. Their eyes were huge and their faces full of excitement as Mike bent down and gave them his complete attention. We could tell they wanted to ask Mike questions. When Mike asked them their names, both replied that their name was ANGEL! It was if heaven sent us two young boys disguised as angels to bring us this sense of boy-like wonderment and excitement. They asked Mike many questions and in Mike’s very personable way, Mike made sure they felt comfortable, safe and the most important people in his life. How beautiful it was for me to see my brother, Mike, with all the power he has, giving of himself to my two little Latino brothers. Near the end of our conversation with our ANGELS, they began to tell us what they wanted to be and do in life and eventually both young boys left as if riding their bikes on a cloud – full of confidence and full of sense of hope for their futures. I wish I could put into words what we experienced. The leverage, the power and the beauty of our Belonging Revolution was in its fullest form as the voices and personalities of two ANGELS became the centerpiece of an amazing conversation.

Thank you, Dan Benavidez

Notes from friends that walked

Longmont Police, Deputy Chief, Jeff Satur

These are great.  Thank you for the update.  Hope all is well.  I ready for lunch again if you’re up for it.  Thanks, Jeff

Erie Police, Police Chief, Marco Vasquez

Dan,  Sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I let my email get a bit backed up. It was great meeting you as well and thank you for your service as well! You are doing great things for your community and I am sure that it will pay dividends now and in the future. Thank you for forwarding the email recapping your neighborhood walk (s). I am friends with a Latino community activist/pastor in Denver and with your permission, I would like to forward this email to him. Take care and God Bless. 

From Lois Linser

Hi, my LOM friend. You have such a wonderful way of expressing your thoughts.  I feel like I'm on the walks with you.  Time to write another book.  Both you and Mike are the ones that are blessed for taking the time to show how much you truly care. 

From Eric Lombardi, Eco-Cycle International Executive Director

Awesome... just awesome! I want you you to give the camera to one of your walking friends and have them take a picutre of  you and Mike doing your thing!  What you're doing is such a perfect counter-punch to what Trump is doing. I vote for you and Mike to win the Colorado Nobel Peace Prize. 

From Jeannette Holtham, President and Founder, Youth Transformation Center

Oh my gosh, Dan and Mike! What a delightful story!  I can only imagine how two little boys must have felt to have th eChief of police come down to their eye level and talk with them like grown-ups and make them feel like they truly mattered (as they do). Beautiful - Jeanette

From Captain Tim Brown, Loveland Police

Dan, Thank you for sharing!  How invigorating these stories truly are and what wonderful work you are doing in Longmont! Keep on walking!

From Allyn Feinberg

What a really great story, Dan! Thanks for sending this to PBC.

From Rick Brandt Police Chief Evans Colorado

Wow! Amazing!

From Katie Doyle Meyers

This was an amazing story, Dan!  The Angels...wow, I really needed that little boost in my day. Certainly the work that you and Mike are doing is truly astounding, especially in this time of the terrible violence and divisiveness that is ensuring on our political front. Thank you, thank you for your dedication.

Also, I wanted to tell you that I love that you include photos. And, often in the photos, folks are out working - there i see them working on their cars, perhaps refurbishing some cabinets. This is a detail of the work that you doing, but a small one - a reminder that so many of us, no matter our walk of life, are determined to improve our homes, our lives, the future of our children. Of course, its almost trite to say, but certainly the things that unify us are of paramount importance to point out at this time. 

Abrazos grandisimos para usted, Dan