Truth & Reconciliation – No Better Time than Right Now
Last night, I saw a video of renown science fiction author, Ursula Leguin, speaking at the National Book Awards in acknowledgement of receiving that august group’s recognition of her life of literary achievement. In her comments, she said, “I think hard times are coming. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.”
Right after hearing LeGuin’s words, we heard the news from Ferguson, Missouri that the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown would not be held responsible by the Grand Jury.
Then, just now I spoke to my friend Michelle Browder. She and six Montgomery, Alabama youth are in a car driving to Atlanta for a meeting with Congressman John Lewis. They will be talking with him about their organization, I AM MORE THAN. And they will be describing the national Truth & Reconciliation event they are planning as a way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
This is, to me, poetry in action. Standing on the shoulders of giants, these youth are taking us forward. They are writing history – poets and visionaries in the making.
Any of us can join Michelle and her young colleagues in this urgent vision. Start now.
And if you are someone who doesn’t know about John Lewis or about Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery in March of 1965 — learn. Learn because social realities like Ferguson’s fury, Trayvon Martin’s death and the racist microaggressions millions will endure today (as everyday) arise from our passivity – from turning away so that racism and its spectrum of violence can persist. Still – the fact is, you and I and every other human breathing this precious planet’s air are, most essentially, people of dignity and worth.
Acting directly on that truth, the seven Americans in Michelle’s car are, right now, driving east. My unyielding gratitude and respect for and to them. My thanks also to the blogger, Janee Woods – and to my White friends who are re-posting her blog: Twelve Things White People Can Do Because Ferguson and then acting in alliance.
Racism – like any poison – can only hurt all of us. Likewise, Truth & Reconciliation are up to each of us. They rely on the actions we take from now forward.