Love In A Big World: Unity and creativity

August 21st, 2017

The hate speech, the protests, and the political outcry of this week are like nothing I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. My friends in their seventies have told me that these current events remind them of the days of the Civil Rights Movement. I’ve been wrestling with this question: what do we DO now?

Yes, I believe in action…strategic and meaningful action. Cultivating kindness is as simple as a smile and a conversation. Building relationships provides connectedness and belonging. We must be intentional with our words and actions…unto what purpose?

As I reflect on the Civil Rights era, two things stand out to me: unity and creativity.

The movie Selma provides a modern-day interpretation of the March to Montgomery in 1965. One of the things that struck me about this historical event is how it brought people from different ages, races, backgrounds, genders and faiths together. The people of that day did not see their differences; they celebrated their similarities — their humanity. Joined arm-in-arm, they prayed and marched for the equality of all.

The organic response to this call for freedom was art. Photographers, painters, musicians, poets, and singers from diverse backgrounds joined the cause, making their voices heard. These prophets refused to be silenced. They were a catalyst for popular expression, granting people everywhere permission to feel the injustice. The music of Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, Willie Peacock, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, The Staple Singers, and Pete Seeger was sung by young and old alike in the churches and on the streets.

Unity and creativity were inextricably linked, one nurturing the other, just as faith spurred social justice. The result was a change in our collective consciousness for generations.

So, I wonder…in our hurried twenty-first century existence, are we making time to gather together in person, not just respond with our clicktivism? Are we making space to process and create so that our voices are heard? Are we having the necessary conversations with our children, teaching them about Fairness and Cooperation?

Let us accept this sacred invitation to unite and create. What will be the anthem of our day?

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