Our country is in pain. I wonder how deep our national sadness will go and how long it will last. We were already struggling greatly as a nation with a worldwide pandemic, a bleak economic outlook, an unprecedented number of folks out of work and unable to put food on their table, and division and outrage so deep and pervasive that it threatens to unhinge us and devolve our democracy into something unrecognizable. And then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, a wanton and senseless injustice at the hands of those from whom we expect the just, reasonable and legal carrying out of their duties to protect, took the life of George Floyd and finally brought the long simmering anger and outrage onto our streets.
For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other souls, we must see our way through this to a place of peace, mutual respect and justice. We have to. We don’t have a choice as the alternative is not acceptable nor sustainable. We don’t each live on a desert island alone. We live in communities with others all around us. We don’t all look the same, sound the same or have the same values and beliefs. Maya Angelou once said: “We should all know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”
I am sad, outraged and angry too. But, I’m not helpless and I don’t feel hopeless. We always have a choice about how to interact with and treat others. For sure, there is not a simple, one-size-fits-all solution. Racism, classism, and many other isms are deeply rooted in our society and continue to prevent us from amicably resolving our differences and conflicts. I believe, however, that we can move forward if we are willing to listen to one another, interact thoughtfully and respectfully, respond with compassion and empathy, engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue and truly understand that we each have a purpose, a place and something of value to offer. Can we at least start with that? Are we willing to try? If so, just maybe, our healing and substantive change can begin.