Updated: Nov 25, 2020
I felt really saddened when the news came out of Breonna Taylor‘s case, and the very next day two policemen were shot. I wondered, as a white woman, should this surprise me? Should the fact that many of us, especially people of color, feel so discouraged and so alone and so excluded from our community surprise me?
When I walked in the Black Lives Matter march in my own town this summer, amid the Corona pandemic, I was grateful to be able to participate. I was humbled by the crowd that came out, and the diversity of that crowd.
Today, I was listening to Brené Brown speak to Bishop Michael Curry from the September 30 Episode of Unlocking Us. They were talking about the power of love - Brené asked Bishop Curry to help her, and wondered if she was alone in the struggle to see love as the way through our current challenges, instead of anger or fighting. His response was incredible, but what really struck me was his recognition that we are all missing so many things, that being a part of our community is something that feeds us. Going to church and seeing our neighbors, singing in church together, seeing extended or even only immediate family due to restrictions - these are all things we are missing and really needing right now.
This brings me back to my original sadness and reflection the morning after I heard about the ruling, and the response that resulted in policemen being shot in the town after the ruling. I thought to myself about what I was doing, what I can do. I have a small following on social media, and I posted to reach out to somebody. To try and build a connection, because connection builds relationships, and relationships build community, and community will help heal us in this time where we all feel so divided.
I live in a relatively democratic area, and many people around me believe the things that I believe - there are so many houses in our neighborhood with the We Believe yard sign, supplied by Signs of Justice.
It is so nice to see the people around me who are looking for change. But is putting the sign out enough? There are other signs that lead me to believe that not everyone feels this way. When I see a Trump sign in someone’s yard, I wonder what it is about him that appeals to those folks. What is the appeal of the man I feel drives so much of us towards hate and away from community and love? Why do they support the ‘leader’ who inspires fear in my young children? So far, I had only just pondered those questions. I like my neighbors, they are good and nice people, so maybe I needed to walk across the street, and ask them.
Ok, maybe that wouldn’t be the way to start the conversation, but I needed to start somewhere.
So I picked up my phone, I sent a message, and asked to be invited to their coffee chat the next time they got together.
It happened to be the day after the first presidential debate, after which I was so discouraged by the behavior of both men who claim to be the most powerful options we have as ‘leaders’ on the stage that night. But I was still determined to build community and connection with my neighbors.
I went to that gathering - it was small; only four of us. We spent two hours getting to know each other. We did not talk politics, although there were some questions asked that seemed to fall on opposite sides of our political beliefs. The questions were to get a better sense of who we are as people, and weren’t politically motivated.
I think we left realizing we have a lot in common, maybe more in common than we knew. It was refreshing to have that connection, and I do hope they invite me back sometime.
If you have recently had a conversation like this please share in a comment below!