Land acknowledgments have become more common over the years. Acknowledging the story of the land that we now occupy and the people who inhabited it long before the time of conquest is critical to understanding that we all are one people today.
The tendency for dominant cultures to eradicate the “other” and to steal their resources and plunder their culture is not new. What is new is the push back that we are witnessing, as People emerge resilient and determined to be counted in.
And that push back is not really new, but technology and travel have allowed for greater perspectives to take hold.
And while we may be learning facts, we’re still far from discovering our humanity.
I often think about how different our lives would be if the early colonizers had recognized the humanity of the Native People they encountered. If instead of imposing the patriarchal and capitalistic paradigms, we could have explored the world anew – and glimpsed it through the eyes of our Native brethren. Instead of being bent on usurping the resources we could have learned from the ones who had lived here the longest. We could have maintained the garden. We could have lived in peace.
To free our selves from dominant thinking and to honor the earth with respect and deference would be the greatest land acknowledgment. To recognize the sacred and temporal existence of the land would give us all a second chance.
“People need to feel valuable, capable and loved”*. Those were words I heard in a conference decades ago and they’ve never left me.
Sounds right, doesn’t it? This very simple recognition of something so very basic to human life – but how is it achieved? It can’t be a mantra that we run around and say to one another, because it has to be felt. There are lots of words we know are true, yet we’ve not taken the time to unearth their deeper meaning by feeling them.
And what if each individual could feel their value and could comprehend their preciousness? How would it look in the world that we live in today? For one, when we understand our uniqueness and can celebrate the gift life affords us, it must be nearly impossible to harm or judge another human being for the color of their skin or because who they choose to love.
This simple act of respecting another would have massive implications. It may even create a tidal wave of love and kindness that would upend the cruelty we are faced with daily. Regardless of life choices or life’s circumstances each of us can come to this recognition. But we must take time to feel it.
And what of those who transgress upon us? Should they feel valuable, capable and loved? Or is there some dividing line of right and wrong that makes that impossible?
This is where it gets a bit tough. This is when one begins to realize that our punitive systems and our judgmental natures are out of control. This is when you know its time for change.
One sunrise, one heartbeat, one breathe at a time… discover you are loved.
*My recollection from a conference with Prem Rawat in the late 80’s.
And that is the meaning of intersectionality, isn’t it? It is the interconnected, overlapping and interdependent nature of the disadvantaged.
It’s great to have a day to champion our singular causes, and we could add many more honorary days to celebrate and move forward with bold agendas and transformative ideals.
Or we can take this notion of being disadvantaged and turn it upside down. When we realize our combined efforts towards equity and peace are the norms, not the defaults, and that in fact we are the majority, we can all win.
International Women’s Day began over 112 years ago, forgotten by many countries and then twisted into a kind of Mother’s Day by others, and now we witness what has besieged the girls and women of Afghanistan in less than two years.
A nightmare has been allowed to run rampant in humanity for far too long. It is based in competition and the accumulation of wealth at all costs. It’s the accumulation of wealth that promotes slavery and continues in its various forms today. It is the ridiculous competition among leaders that continues to send soldiers and civilians to their graves. And it is the degradation of women, children and the earth that has brought us to this moment of un-civilization.
Thinking, peace driven people must shun the failures of the past. These individuals, who can take the yokes from their own necks, and create new paths forward, can and will ignite the change we know is possible.
When they tell you you’re not one of them. Don’t be offended. It’s probably true.
When they talk about you behind your back and set up roadblocks on your path. Don’t waste your time getting angry. Don’t think about getting even.
These are the games of assumption and judgment. You don’t have to play in that playground. These are the strategies of divide and conquer – and you can see where that has gotten us.
This is your moment to shine. This is the moment to call upon your inner strength, and use your highest vision. That’s what’s needed now.
Never let anyone diminish you.
You are a human being. You have been given the gift of life and you belong.
People may try to erase you. People may try to usurp you but when you know and understand who you are they cannot touch you. Cultivate your courage. Cultivate your love and kindness. These are your weapons.
Don’t dance in the graveyard of ignorance. Find the living. And Enjoy.
Some talk about ancestors. Some talk about angels. Some talk about God. But talk is talk and knowing is a very different thing.
Place your hope on the possibility that humanity can and will come to its senses before it is too late. Trust that spark of divinity that each of us carries. Let it burst into flames, too bright to be ignored again, and hot enough to melt the hardest of hearts.
It is a difficult time. We have forgotten who we are, but we can remember. And in that remembrance everything is possible.
Take a step towards knowing who you are. You are the Greatest. You are needed and you belong. Widen your Circle.
We’re in Black History Month, February first through March first. The theme for 2023 is Black Resistance. During this time, I am hoping to learn more and adopt some of the very valiant ways I witness Black Resistance.
For one, I’ve never had to fear that my nephew, brother-in-law, father or male cousins were going to be beaten to death for no reason by police. I’ve never had to have the “talk” about how to “behave” if stopped or questioned. I know of encounters my Black friends have had with racism and I am quite certain I would not have been able to remain dignified under such inhumanity. Black Resistance is the ability to face the ignorance of hatred and not become the hater.
Black Resistance is what I have witnessed in Black communities like Milwaukee and Detroit that resolutely carry on through unnecessary hardships and find creative ways to maintain in spite of it all. I continue to learn from their lead.
Black Resistance is the recognition of the need for self-care and more importantly community care. That is the hallmark of a People who will triumph. It’s my belief that white communities would benefit from the understanding of “Beloved Community” as witnessed in Black communities.
It is in present day Abolitioniststhat I have found great hope. We don’t need to remain in systems of oppression. We must accept the opportunity to live in new ways. It’s not only possible but also essential. And we must resist the doubts that say it cannot be done.There will be many opportunities over the next month to avail your self of Black Greatness. Resistthe fear of learning Black History and embrace the truth that Black history is all of our history.
Let’s call it what it is: illegal and inhuman. More than 2.4 million migrants have been turned away under Title 42 since 2020. According to US Customs and Border Patrol these individuals are seeking humanitarian protection. The recent Supreme Court decision to allow the continuance of Title 42 is in blatant disregard of human rights and a violation of International Law.
That’s the rub, isn’t it? To get legislators to agree on a subject that will force them to unravel the racial biases that still dominate. There are legal and just ways to bring migrants seeking asylum into this country. Ukraine and Afghan refugees can attest to this. But let us not forget the photos of immigration enforcement on horseback rounding up Haitians to be deported. There were 20,000 Haitians deported in five months, and all under Biden’s watch.
Title 42 is an immigration enforcement tool. And we, as a country, should be ashamed. Instead, we make a wish for peace and celebrate the glories of a new year while in our name horrible racist and inhuman acts continue.
We pride ourselves on an exceptionalism that we have never earned.
May we become the humans that we are capable of being.
photo: creative commons licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0
It’s the season of gift giving. A lot of us are out of ideas on what to give and many are wrung out of cash even if we have great ideas. Besides, think of all those presents you’ve received through the years. How many do you still have? How many were returned, broken or tossed?
One would think we would be over the seasonal hype by now, but advertising knows our sweet spot and the economy needs our money more than ever, even if we are in debt up to our ears.
You’ve got to love the grandmas sewing pillows for the grandkids and teaching them how to bake cookies. You’ve got to love the effort of people who are not of the Santa Claus culture and hold dearly to their understandings about what is sacred this time of year. And yes, those include the celebrations of the return of light and the sweet remembrance that the seasons will turn and spring’s renewal will come. The ones who champion their communities and understand that true giving is the reciprocity of existence.
At a time when many of us struggle with the loss of loved ones and with what we now term as “mental illness” and more, isn’t it time we re-evaluate the gifts we give?
I’ll offer you a couple of tips, free of charge. How about giving some of your time to listen to the old ones who are still with us? And try not to look at your device as you listen. Or to the children, not necessarily your own, who are stuck in a world constantly clamoring at them about how and who to be.
Wouldn’t it be a great time to give the gift of acceptance? We owe ourselves this gift.
You can learn about PFLAG and become an advocate for human rights and kindness.