Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya's words against prejudice is the balm we need to live with courage...

Over the last week there have been news reports, online commentary, and what seems to be a never-ending display of chaos, anger, grief, ignorance, and disbelief over the terrible loss because of the shooting in Santa Barbara, California as well as the feedback over Elliot Roger's actions.

While I rarely post responses to current events, this event is one I can't allow to pass. Sides are being drawn in the aftermath of this tragedy from every perspective imaginable. This account has lit a fire for so many people. The sheer tragedy of this story is beyond comprehension; but the root of its cause is something that people live and struggle with every day. Prejudice.

Maya Angelou, a brilliant poet, speaker and human being; who sadly passed away earlier today has this to say concerning the effect of prejudice:

"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."

At this very moment  confusion, threat and inaccessibility, are great descriptive emotions consistent for many people so effected by this backlash of this tragedy. Somehow, I think Maya's words concerning prejudice may be a clue to the root of actions like this. 

The person who carried out this crime felt judged by those who rejected him, the people attacked and killed received (more than) judgement for declining his attentions. The action of judging or being judged as one thing or another, as well as what we fall short of being is another ground for prejudice to be bred. The laundry list of prejudice is already too long: race, gender, orientation. There needs to be a tool to help dispel this tug of war of acceptance or not accepting one another;before there are any more casualties. 

Once again, Miss Maya gives some wisdom concerning what this protective tool against prejudice may be:

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

Today is a day where we all need more kindness, truth, mercy, generosity, and honesty; but these characteristics are not sustainable with out the foundation of courage. Courage, I pose, may be the very tool we most need. 

In the day's ahead, there is sure to be disingenuous and hurtful statements posted, commented, and shares related to this current news story. However,thinking and speaking with courage, usually is done out of the concern and benefit of others.  In light of the lives of so many that are impacted by this loss; may we all remember that these posts and articles are about real people, with real emotions and real families. 

Taking courage in the days ahead will call all to lay down their prejudices, threats and barriers and consider what might be possible for our communities with a strong foundation. If courage is laid first, then kindness, truth, mercy, generosity, and honesty could be a living reality; instead of a far-off ideal.

Peace, comfort and condolences to those who have lost friends and family in the Santa Barbara shooting. Thank you Miss Maya for your challenging and inspiring words. God speed. You will be missed.

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