Reaching in, Speaking out, and Committing to Peace in the Face of Violence and Hatred
The violent events in Charlottesville last week affected me deeply. I felt heartbroken about the pain of polarization, racism, intolerance, and xenophobia that has haunted this country’s history and seems to be humanity’s sad and enduring legacy. I felt confused, angry and thirsty for solutions to heal this pain.
The tragedy of how racial beliefs override our ability to see each other first as human beings is not new.
Nonetheless, last weeks’ events reminded us in a fresh way that there is so much work we need to do. It also highlighted how what we say matters – there has been much debate about what our elected leaders have said in response to the events in Charlottesville.
I believe we are all “responsible” – able to respond – to work towards peace, non-violence, tolerance, acceptance and equality of all people as interdependent members of the same human family, even when this work is multidimensional, complex and very challenging.
At this moment in our history, whether you are reading this in the United States or in another country, you and I are needed as ambassadors of our human family.
You and I are needed as peace workers.
This week, as I listened to podcasts and interviews with social justice activists, former skin heads, and non-violent advocates and I read statements from organizations, political groups, spiritual leaders and people like you and me, I felt my fire stoked to recommit to peace in the ways I know how to and also to learn new ways.
My sincere life-long commitment is to continue to devote my energy to learn and teach the language of peace, shared power and compassion.
I further commit to:
* Decrease and eradicate violence and intolerance in my own speech, especially when I feel outraged, vulnerable, insecure, confused or misunderstood.
* Acknowledge my own biases and seek guidance and support to investigate how I’m contributing to pain generated by intolerance.
* Speak about race and racism with curiosity and openness. I want to know about the different experiences members of our human family have at this moment in time.
* Speak up when I see racism in action. Even when I might make mistakes and not always be skillful with my words, I would rather risk flawed communication than remain silent when racism occurs in my presence.
* Be aware of my own desire to be right before I speak or reply to a comment with which I disagree on social media.
* Anchor my words in my intention to connect, learn and understand.
I urge you to make your own commitments to decrease the polarization, divisiveness and suffering in our communities, country and the world.
Let’s share these commitments on our social media networks and let others know that we will do the difficult and necessary work to speak the language of peace as part of our efforts to overcome racism and begin the healing our human family so desperately needs.
You can add your commitments to our human family and read others by clicking here #committedtoourhumanfamily.