Healing Our Communities

I wrote and posted this over a month ago. I wonder if anyone will start listening now:

Here is America, there is a lot of social unrest.  There is a lot of racial tension, economic tension, political tension, gender tension and religious tension.  It makes you wonder if we will all ever get along.

America, in a way, is a great social experiment.  We have enough freedoms to be able to explore the boundaries of what we can and cannot do.  We have enough restrictions where we should not act with reckless disregard for life.

Yet every day we seem to be confronted with some sort of domestic violence in our homeland.  Police shootings.  Racial slurs being chanted.  Religious institutions being burned.  Women being abused and mistreated.  Homophobia.  And we are doing this to each other.  In our own land.  We are talking to each other with disdain and anger.  Yelling, instead of listening.  Accusing, instead of seeking solutions. Arguing, instead of seeking peace and understanding.  Among our own countrymen and women.

I have been guilty of it.  I have been angry.  I have said I would not build a bridge with someone I didn’t trust to not rig the other side with dynamite.  I sent others out to make sure the coast was clear.

Yet I said I would stand on my feet and fight.

This was not being a fighter.  This was living in fear.  In fear of rejection and in fear of being hurt.

If I am truly strong and truly willing to fight and to solve the problems in this nation and in these communities, I need to be stronger than that.  I need to be willing the build the entire bridge.  I need to be willing to take the risk of being shot down on the other side.

I have seen many stand before me and extend the hand of friendship and forgiveness without fear.

Mo’Ne Davis after being called a horrible name in a tweet.  She was forgiving.

Isaac Hill, the President of the Black Student Association at Oklahoma University, said “It is only logical to fight hate with love,” after fraternity members at his school were recorded singing a racist song on a bus.

One of my favorite historical figures of all times, Booker T. Washington, challenged us to not “permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.”

If we get stuck too long on the problem, we will never find a way to fix it.

So I stand in the spirit of forgiveness and solution seeking.  Maybe it’s the Spring weather or the sunshine.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have finally gotten a job and the future looks bright for me.  I don’t know.  But for some reason, I am willing to give it a shot.

As a mixed race woman, who is also a transracial adoptee, racial tension wears me down.  I love everyone.  I truly do. I do not like being angry with White People.  I don’t like feeling like I cannot trust my neighbor.  I hate feeling like there will be some sort of race war in this country that will force me to pick sides.  Because I cannot divide myself in half.  My children and I have friends from every race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation and whatever other intersection of life we live in.  And it’s not that we don’t see color, we all get along with all our differences on display.  We can be who we are without any feeling of shame or isolation.  I could never turn my back on those friends who love me and whom I love.

I don’t want to change that, ever.  And the only way to maintain that is to heal this community.  To try to find a way to claw out of this abyss that we are finding ourselves looking out of.

And I say that we are merely looking out and not sinking because I think that progress is already being made.  Despite the negative reports that you hear on the news, there are strides being made to work to fix these issues.  I believe that our young people are really working hard behind the scenes to make their universities and colleges safer for people of color, especially women.   I believe that some of our police departments are working on things like implicit bias and cultural sensitivity.  I believe that there are strides being made every day here in this country.  And we can’t let the bad overshadow the good.

I was told the other day that we have the opportunity in America to change the entire world.  That we have transformative power here in America.

That really struck me.  Mainly because we have been fighting like children.  Spoiled, rotten, entitled children.  And squandering our opportunities to do right in a world that really needs us to get our act together.

Wake up people.  We can get it together.  We can get this together and make this a better place for our children.  I know we can.  We just need to stop acting like spoiled children and start healing our community.

We need to start at the root of our problems.  We need to start listening to one another.

Like Michael Jackson said, we need to start with the Man in the Mirror

think locally, act globally

When you close your eyes, you close your mind

About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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1 Response to Healing Our Communities

  1. Liese says:

    Love your words. They move me and help me keep a better perspective. Every day I need to be stronger for my daughter. Thank you.

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