“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
It is troubling to live in a world where injustice appears to be the norm. Where bad news is distressing but not surprising; where people of color (especially the males) have to think defensively and act as if anything they do can be open to subject to the full and potentially lethal force of what used to be referred to as ‘the man’. Where your options are limited not only by your own beliefs, but by systemic practices that are designed for you to fail. How do we fix this?
Everything has a flip side, and the sight of peaceful protests springing up in solidarity across the nation reminds us that it sometimes takes the grossest acts of injustice to make us wake up and recognize that we are in need of healing. There is a cancer that is so deep-rooted that it is time for more than a conversation. It is time for community based programs to let solutions arise from the people who have to deal with the manifestations of the disease, not simply to have interventions which are imposed from on high. Ask the ones who are suffering what needs to change! Give them control of their future! Paolo Freire was a Brazilian educator who recognized that when things are imposed from above, they are just another form of oppression, even if the intentions are good. He also warned that “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
So where do we go from here? Where does the healing begin? Often we are not provoked to act until things get very close to home. When it gets personal, that is when we have no choice but to be involved. So often we sit on the sidelines, content to chime in with our opinions, not recognizing that it could be our son next; our community next.
In Cleveland last week a child was killed by the police. The officer who shot him had previously been found to be ‘unfit for police work’ when working for another police department. Yet Cleveland hired him. What are the practices in your city? Do they check personnel files of new hires? How much training do the police officers get in your city? I am asking questions that I don’t know the answers to. I started out with Gandhi, and another of his famous quotes is that we must be the change we want to see in the world. How can we demand a better society if we are not active in the transformation?
This morning I woke up with the words ‘give thanks’ on my mind. Last weekend my high school won the DaCosta cup – a football (ok, soccer) championship that they have not won since 1998. In fact, in all the time I was at school, we had never won (it is a regional championship, we are hoping for success at the national level against Jamaica College, a Kingston school, on Saturday). The school and all of its past students are ecstatic and celebrating all over the globe. We have much to be thankful for.
But are we thankful even when we are not winning championships? It is easy to be grateful, to give thanks, when life is going our way. But how about when things are going wrong? How about when we seem to have nothing but bad luck, when we didn’t get that promotion we were hoping for, when our kids aren’t doing well in school. Often when we get frustrated by the annoyances of life we forget that we still have plenty going for us, there are many who are dealing with real tragedy. Sometimes we need a little reality check to recognize how much we still have to be thankful for.
In a week of highs and lows, we are challenged to find ways to maintain balance and identify solutions. We need to dig deep into ourselves and see what we are doing to live in a healthy world, what are we prepared to do to make our society a place of opportunity for all. Are we inactive, and thereby siding with the powerful, and not the powerless? Are we holding our leaders accountable and demanding that they respect and recognize the potential in all of our children?
The word healing represents wholeness, and in order for healing to begin we have to take our place as a part of the whole, and see what healing needs to take place within ourselves. All parts of the whole have to heal together. Let us commit to be a part of the solution, not the problem and let the change begin now!
Have a fantastic Friday Family! Clarendon College to the worrrrrrrrld!!!