In a conversation with one of my students who happens to a daughter of a Honduran immigrant father and an African American mother, we started talking about our families and the habits of our parents and grandparents. In a moment of revelation she exclaimed: “You know we’re very different, but we have a lot in common.” In this statement, she got at the very thing that we should all realize about each other. No matter how different we may seem, how different our cultures, our backgrounds, our race, our religion, or any other factor we are all threaded together in our shared humanity. The choice to seek unity rather than division is just that— a choice. The forces that intend to divide us are many. Social media, advertising and politics are but a few things have been used as weapons of division—sowing seeds of hate. We have allowed these things to divide us in a way that we no longer choose to see the shared human experiences that bind us all together. If we truly want a world that is filled with kindness and love, then we must make an active choice to love even when it is difficult.
This weekend was a weekend filled with unity for many people across this country. Millions of people took to the streets in the Women’s March in a show of solidarity and to take a stand for the rights that we feel are fundamental to every human being living in this country. This weekend was not about Donald Trump. It was about the coming together and the raising of voices in a chorus to proclaim what we stand for. It was a beautiful day filled with people peacefully demonstrating their rights as Americans.
The marching and demonstrating is the easy part. The more difficult work is the work of the human relationship. It is the work of getting our day-to-day human interactions with others right. Every day I watch as people degrade, disregard or dehumanize others in their actions whether it is on social media or person-to person contact. If we cannot get this basic thing right, how can we create the change that we seek?
I am inspired by the unity that many in this country and across the globe showed this past weekend. It shined a ray of hope in what may be described as dark times. This ray will only continue to shine as long as everyday citizens choose to lace up their boots and do the work— not just one day, but each and every day. It won’t always be easy, but the work will be worth it. As MLK once said: “everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Service doesn’t always mean that you have to get out and volunteer or get involved with a local organization. Although both of these things are great, sometimes service simply means to love others. After all these years, the addition of so many technologies and ways to connect, we still haven’t gotten the most basic thing right—human relationships.
I will leave you with this question: What will you commit to doing in order to bring unity and honor the humanity of all people?