Being human does not necessarily ensure equal rights and privileges – the evidence is all around us. . .
You are not an- “other,” you are my brother, you are my sister. WE might not look alike, sound alike or worship in the same way, but none of that matters. What matters is the way you and I show up when we are standing across from each other on different sides of an issue. Can we stand across from each other without being against each other? Can we listen, disagree and still express respect? I say, “Yes we can, and we must!” In order to make this world a better place for all, we must move beyond certain things. We need to relinquish our judgments, any sense of righteousness that causes us to diminish or harm and any attachment to a worldview that does not include all.
In July, I journeyed south to El Paso, Texas along with a colleague, Rev. Karen Fry, joining Faith Leaders from around this country to participate in Moral Monday, a multi-denominational faith-based demonstration under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William Barber. It was an event inspired by and designed in the nature of Martin Luther King Jr’s Civil Disobedience to hold politicians and policy makers responsible for their actions. Approximately 500 people gathered to stand, pray and walk to the immigrant detention center in El Paso. To prepare for our peaceful protest, we first assembled the night before the protest, to ground ourselves in the purpose that united us as we also sang and worshipped together merging as one through all religious lines. It was definitely the finest demonstration I have ever witnessed or participated in that clearly and convincingly established the truth that when something critical is on the line, we have the power and ability to rise above our self-importance and our individual differences to serve Humanity. It was a stunning display of compassionate possibility.
Whatever your opinion about immigrants seeking entrance into this country, legally or otherwise, I feel certain that if you had the opportunity to personally witness the treatment of the innocent children, separated from their families, your heart would lead you to respond with compassion.
If you are a white citizen and you are allowing yourself to live under the flag of “privilege” –without questioning its meaning and implications, I suggest that you are not serving the greater humanity. It is our responsibility to become educated about the subject of privilege. Please don’t lean on people of color to do that for you. If you experience a sense of discomfort by merely pondering what our African American, and non-white (Asian, Hispanic, Native American) brothers and sisters endured - in the past and currently, please don’t allow that discomfort to send you running and hiding. To do so, is to relinquish your responsibility to humanity.
When we attempt to escape the pain of our humanity, we are running from the gift of our human birthright: feelings. It is precisely our emotions and feelings which we need to experience in order to expand and evolve. Growth requires us to stand in the pain and the discomfort of our experience without running or shrinking back. Instead we must declare I am here for you; I stand with you and I will not go unconscious. Unconscious bias, in all forms and expressions, is silently destructive, it is the way we relinquish our power to support the transformation of humanity.
Human rights are for ALL. When we are awake, we are called to stand tall and call out the injustices that we see. Humanity needs all of us, each and every one of us, to learn to function in the most potent, compassionate and self-aware way possible.
We may/or may not be designed to be the one to scribe the next great novel or receive the Nobel Peace Prize or to discover the definitive cure for cancer. You are, however, most potent when you simply choose to think on your own, to practice: “Seek ye first to understand, then be understood.” and to cease the mindless judgments of another based on your history, assumptions or conditioning.
To make a difference; stay awake, stay conscious, take a stand and don’t go silent. Silence is the ultimate obliteration of HOPE, the hope for humanity.