I recently attended a community gathering called “Our Community Cares.” We gathered in response to several hateful events that had occurred in our community and our nation. One in particular had been the dissemination of pro Nazi/white supremacist fliers in our town. In attendance were many familiar faces, activists, community organizers, ministers and community leaders who always come together to show our community that we exist, people who love all people.
Our Mayor and a City Councilman were also present. I was proud of this group and felt we were moving forward in a positive way until our Mayor stepped up to the mic. Her remarks were full of excuses and cowardice. She repeatedly stated she was taking off her mayor’s hat to say that she didn’t agree with the hate speech that had been spread throughout our city. Then she would put her Mayor’s hat back on and say that she and the city council had taken no action on the hate fliers because, free speech. It was a weak response that inspired no one. I expect bravery in myself and I hope for it in others, than night I was sadly disappointed.
This morning I read an article about a hateful gathering at the University of Virginia. A much larger but similar in sentiment group to what happened in my city. Charlottesville’s Mayor, Mike Signer, acknowledged the right of assembly and free and speech and then stated “Here’s mine: Not only as Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of vial intimidation on a college campus.” I have to say that I appreciate this show of bravery, and wish it would inspire my own community leaders.
You may be asking yourself, how does this apply to me? We all have opportunities to speak up, stand up and show up in ways that help bring love forward in our communities. It takes bravery to say the words and be visible. I don’t mean to preach any particular beliefs, but I do mean to inspire bravery. I have been participating in marches, vigils and other activist activities in my small city for most of my adult life. It takes some gumption on my part each time an event comes up, to push myself out the door. To be visible, to stand for something publicly. I have been on the TV news, in the newspaper and interviewed on local talk radio. My work usually hinges around the LGBT+ community. I live in a very conservative place, I am minority and am sometimes met with hateful responses. The work that we have done in my community has made a difference. Change is happening. Love and acceptance and understanding are growing. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
As you probably know, I spend my days reading the energy of people, places, relationships and situations. I also spend a lot of time reading the collective energy of all living things on this planet. I feel the pressure building all around us, many situations are coming to a head. Now is the time for each of us to look to ourselves for bravery in the face of change, strife, hate and violence. We each hold a powerful light, and when we choose to, we can shine that light out into the world, bringing a collective force with it. The love we carry inside of us is more powerful than anything. Our world needs that love all of the time, but sometimes the need is greater. Now is one of those times. Open your heart, shine your light, stand up, show up.
I went deeper on this topic on Kindred Spirits.
Watch the video here!