What is the Rainbow Family All About?

By John Absher

I hadn't heard the words "peace and love," "brother and sister" or "god and Spirit" used so often in one afternoon of conversation since the late 1960's.

Occasionally, while watching a rerun of the Dragnet television show, when Joe and Friday are busy interrogating a stereotyped "hippy," I still get a taste of "peace and love syndrome," Hollywood style. But I didn't really believe there were still persons around who lived and were devoted to the doctrines of peace, brotherhood and harmony with the earth. To me, it was almost cliché.

That's what I thought, until Friday, when I spent the afternoon and evening with members of the Rainbow Family, a group which professes to be at least 4,000 strong, and plans to congregate on the East Fork of the Gila River south of Beaverhead July 1-7. Last week, the Rainbow Family was issued a special permit from the Forest Service for the gathering which includes about 600 acres to be used as a campsite.

Jaysun and Feather Hammond of Luna have served as liaison for the Rainbow Family event. Jaysun's big grin and warm handshake seemed authentic to me. Feather, his wife, greeted me with an equally warm handshake and dark brown eyes that peered deep into mine.

"The First Amendment to the Constitution grants persons the right to peaceably assemble, which is what we plan to do," Jaysun told me as we waited for dinner at his home near Luna. He went on to explain that the week long gathering of the Rainbow tribes in the Gila Forest will be spent "sharing". Sharing experiences, ideas, philosophies, music, peace and love.