Thursday, November 17, 2016

trying to harvest

"But that's just the thing," I told him, "you don't exist in a vacuum." And from the bottom of my heart I hope the sentiment resonated.
You may have heard "people come into your life for a reason"? Well, I'd argue that's too romantic a notion. Perhaps we're simply fortunate to be able to connect at all; to cross paths in this life and in this universe; to grow through our encounters with others; to know that we can learn from each other, and in the space between two flawed human beings, we can even find support, understanding, hope, maybe love. It's a powerful privilege and responsibility, which makes disregard so hurtful.
My roommate hosted a viewing party for 13th—a chillingly powerful documentary by Ava DuVernay—a few weeks ago. The premise was based at the cross-section of slavery, our criminal justice system, and the evolving yet all the while inaccurate and negative characterization of African Americans... mostly by white men in power, and then reiterated by everyone else. Much of the film is disturbing in its familiar truth; and it is so well done. I highly recommend you seek out 13th on Netflix if you haven't already.
As you may be able to infer, I was heartbroken by the presidential election results. All those hateful comments and policies had been embraced, or worse yet, overlooked; and so much of who I am and what I believe in felt under attack. How, after all this time and progress, did we still live in a world of bigotry, racism, sexism, and bullying? And yet we do. Inequality and resentment are rampant. It's probably awfully appealing to find comfort in prejudice. There's just something about having someone else, the Other to blame.
So, what now? Dave Chapelle encouraged us to give him a chance, John Oliver reminded us that accepting our democratic process should not equate to normalizing his behavior, but what I find to be the most encouraging advice is to counteract with more not less support for each another—listen; stay engaged; give more kindness, empathy, time/money to places like Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the International Women's Health Coalition; the NRDC; the International Refugee Assistance Project and IRC; the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, and ACLUThe Trevor ProjectMALDEF and American Friends Service Committee; the Anti-Defamation LeagueFacing History and Ourselves. (More to add? Please comments below.)
It has been a lovely fall season (in New York especially—see above!), and Thanksgiving is coming up quickly, and I'm blogging from Europe where I'll soon be visiting my brother and reconnecting with friends. Let us please take stock of our blessings now and exercise our individual agency to promote good in this world through thought and spoken word and movement. It is as much our privilege as it is our responsibility. As far as I can tell, we need each other more than ever before.