From Fireworks to the Hard Work
Indeed, it is precisely in a period of great spiritual and societal hunger like our own that we most need to open minds, hearts, and memories to those times when women and men actually dreamed of new possibilities for our nation, for our world, and for their own lives. It is now that we may be able to convey the stunning idea that dreams, imagination, vision, and hope are actually powerful mechanisms in the creation of new realities — especially when the dreams go beyond speeches and songs to become embodied; to take on flesh, in real, hard places.
— Vincent Harding
This 4th of July felt a little different. Obviously, we celebrated without the barbecues, carnivals, and fireworks of previous years. But there is also a sense that we need to— and are— returning to the basics. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…For much of our history, all haven’t been treated equally. This moment feels like a time to imagine what equality could look like in our country and in our lives. And most importantly, how to bring it about.
Bringing light to areas of systemic inequality shows us places where we can demand change and justice. And we should continue to pressure our elected officials, government entities and businesses to make those changes. Creating systems that are more fair makes equality for all a cultural norm and expectation. But it doesn’t necessarily change our personal biases and prejudices. Only when we change our hearts and minds can we effect the kind of change we truly seek.
Most of us believe that we are not biased or prejudiced toward other groups of people, yet we still fall into unintentional but conditioned responses in how we relate to others. The only way past that is to become conscious. What do I feel when I relate to this person? Why? Is that how I want to interact? What action can I take to change myself? This kind of change comes about slowly and with effort. Interaction by interaction we become the kind of person we want to be, and in that way, affect larger change. People like us treat others this way.