I started this blog with the title “Top Three!” for the top three reasons why I am ecstatic about the shift in our reality and our state of affairs. I am not naïve to think that one change, who is president of the United States, would solve all problems. But if you know me, you may have heard me say many times that there is no separation between you and me. So what does that mean now?
Let’s see whether I can combine these two titles.
In my native Akan language, we say “nipa ye nipa wo nnipa mu,” which means, “a person is somebody through other persons,” and this acknowledges the interdependent relationship between the individual and the community. Only in terms of other people does the individual become conscious of his/her being, his/her own duties, and his/her privileges and responsibilities.
When one person suffers, so does the group. When one person rejoices, joy spreads to fellow beings, neighbors, and relatives, including those in the spirit world. When a person gets married, he/she is not alone, so also do the children belong to the community. What happens to the individual also happens to the whole group, and whatever happens to the whole group also happens to the individual. The individual can only say “I am, because we are; and since we are, therefore I am.” This is the basis in understanding our humanity.
When we assert our individual and small group interests over the whole, we miss the fundamental wellness of the group and each individual within it. So what is the secret to thriving communities? One main component is harmony!
This is where my “Top Three” become pertinent and relevant. I am giving you a key so you may take a peek into my heart and experience what it feels like to walk in my shoes as a Black woman in this country. Black women have been placed at the bottom of the power structure historically in this country and I will never understand the reasons why, especially because of the sacrifices many have made to build this nation, communities and families.
1. In the last twelve years, we have endured the unthinkable because Michelle Obama dared to walk into the White House. I skip the list of citizens’ insults towards her and the rest of us, because they’re offensive and unbecoming. But in the last four years, we heard the President of the United States hurl more insults directly at us nonstop, just because he could. It was horrifying!
2. The Child Separation policy, with kids in cages in 2020 scared me! It aligns with my personal story. As an immigrant of color, (keyword: color) my daughter and I could have been separated and lost to each other forever! These humans, most of whom have kids, or nieces and nephews, grandchildren, implemented this policy and slept soundly at night. To me, this policy was inhumane and tragic!
3. The coronavirus was the new instrument that showcased the flaws in biomedical system where money, policy, government and access are defined by sociocultural, geopolitical, and socioeconomic issues of the day. “Let them die,” said those in power. “They’re in blue states!” The virus spread first in the tri-state area and in the Pacific Northwest. The government made menacing life decisions and choices so some citizens of one nation could die unnecessarily.
These three situations—horrifying, inhumane, tragic, and menacing condition—made my heart hurt. As a community, we fail miserably when we don’t recognize that it is this level of disharmony that makes empires fall. We should be aware that war is not necessarily waged via physical violence. War is within the environment: it is in our words and attitudes that deprive others of rights, and it is in any process or situation that creates disharmony.
And unless we have a stake in our unique placement as the country with ideals, and correct our course towards this ideal, then we fall together. America stands for—and possibly remains—a beacon of light for humanity. That’s what the idealism of America means—an experiment where ALL humans are truly equal. As with any experiment, there will be failures. But all races of young men and women of this country this past summer marched for George Floyd to show us the possibilities of how we can unite!
Yes, it is time to let go of all the pains of the past and remember what we live for. Please share your top three, at firstname.lastname@example.org so we may open our hearts to healing, learning about each other and forge a better future together!
May I meet you on the middle ground, our playground, where love is?