By Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director
Dallas, Orlando, Minnesota, Baton Rougue, Charleston, Baltimore, Missouri, California, Newtown, Columbine. Our hearts are heavy.
At CEI, one of the reasons we have such passion for heart centered learning is we see all around us such a need for social justice, friendship, bridge-building, compassion, empathy, and courage.
Our hearts go out to families who have lost loved ones, to communities who are grieving, to African Americans who fear for their children, and to police officers who make so many instantaneous decisions that are fraught with danger, who risk their lives to protect us. In discussions with others these past few days I find myself seeking short-term solutions. I know the long-term solutions, they are the fiber, the foundational fiber, for justice, kindness and caring. The long-term solutions are demanding. The long-term solutions will take tremendous dedication, commitment, and effort to reshape how we support and uplift children, families, schools, and communities.
As for the short-term solutions, what we acknowledge even as we don’t want to hear this answer, is that there can be no short-term solution. This hole that we in the US are in did not appear overnight. The quicksand has gradually deepened as ignorance, hatred, disrespect, and even rage has accumulated. And many of us have contributed to this, even perhaps unwittingly. Some of us have been “privileged” to have not experienced what African American communities have faced for years. We have been busy with our own lives and have not been personally touched with the injustice. Some of us have been privileged in that we haven’t had to coach our children about how to respond if stopped by a police officer. Some of us have been privileged in that we haven’t feared for our children as they have walked to and from school. Some of us have been privileged in that we haven’t had to think that our children might encounter a police officer who may shoot first and ask questions later.
Where are our leaders? So now it is July 2016. How long must we wait for leaders to act? In fact, where are our leaders? Where is our courage? The issues are multi-layered, and it may very well be that the “solutions” will need to be customized for individual communities who must grapple with their own histories. For how much longer will second amendment rights take precedence over caring for our brothers and sisters? For how much longer may guns be easily acquired by those who are on no-fly lists? For how much longer will we relegate care for people with serious mental illness to the streets? For how much longer will sterling academic achievements take precedence over caring for our fellow human beings?
Caring. As our nation heals, which it surely must, let it begin with caring. Let it begin with me, with you, with many, as we turn to each other with kindness and begin to listen to the pain. As we begin to feel your sadness and grief, as we begin to open our hearts more fully, let us venture into the deep, deep waters that are right in front of us. It is not a time for wading in shallow waters, for dancing around the edges, for skirting issues. Rather, for true, deep healing to occur, many need to submerge ourselves in what others must have felt for such a long, long time.