MLK Day Reflection
When we view others with anger, bitterness, suspicion, and prejudice, we erase their humanity - and along with it any chance for unity and reconciliation. We live in a time when it is hard to trust - perhaps we always have. How do you have unity when there are so many different ways of thinking, living, acting, and being? How can we have democracy when some view others as inferior?
As soon as we start “othering” people we’ve already created sides, teams ready to fight till one rules the other. We need to stop separating an “us” and “them” and refer to the collective as “we.” As soon as we start seeing ourselves as connected to everyone (which we are), we can start moving toward unity - not necessarily full agreement, for unity does not equate to singularity, but rather a joining together.
And I do believe it is possible for vastly different people to join together because I’ve seen it happen - I’ve done it. But it requires us to see each other, to listen, to put each other’s needs before our own (without ignoring our own), to find something greater than ourselves that we have in common to unite us. As long as we stay within the walls of our camps, raining ammunition on our opponents, we lose the opportunity to have meaningful, mutually beneficial conversations with human beings.
So who raises the flag of peace first? Those who can afford to, who are in positions of power, leadership, authority, privilege. We all have more influence over others than we realize. Be a part of a positive change - not a change to “the good old days,” not a change to “suit my agenda,” but to putting other’s needs before your preferences for a change, to considering the well-being of those who are struggling. We are responsible for the best and worst parts of our communities - not in the sense that it’s anyone’s fault, but in the sense that we are responsible to each other.
It’s a sunny MLK Day in Boston and I, for one, have hope.
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*Photography: Joe Borgia