Thursday, November 17, 2016

metamorphosis

"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.
Whether from a spiritual or secular perspective, we're pretty much balls of energy colliding into each another the universe. You may have heard "people come into your life for a reason"? Well, I'd argue that that's too much a romantic notion. Perhaps we're simply fortunate to be able to connect at all; to grow within and by our relationships; to know that in the space between two human beings we can find support and understanding, hope and love. It's a powerful privilege and responsibility, which makes disregarding it 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. Those hateful comments and ignorant 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. I imagine it's 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.