We Are a Gentle and “*” People…

When Harvey Milk was murdered, Holly Near wrote the song “Singing For Our Lives”

(We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives
We are a justice-seeking people, and we are singing, singing for our lives
We are young and old together, and we are singing, singing for our lives
We are a land of many colors, and we are singing, singing for our lives
We are gay and straight together, and we are singing, singing for our lives
We are a gentle, loving people, and we are singing, singing for our lives)

I don’t dare say, “I’ve heard or seen it all”, even after nearly 50 years of life, I continued to be amazed, horrified, and bewildered at our world, this country, and my state.

These words are very difficult to write. I am, at times, full of rage when I see people harming or hurting others; AND when so many “good people” remain silent, watching the same thing.

As an ordained, and credentialed minister, I denounce any person, any organization, any group, any entity that promotes disdain, breeds violence, or causes harm to other human beings. I hope you do too.

I am vividly aware of my privilege, and will continue to use it to combat hate, racism, religious oppression, discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Now is the time for every citizen, to come to the aid of the other, insuring we stand united, working to build bridges that allow us to include others, promote equity, and give “the others” a safer space so they can use their voice.

I could continue to write words that shame the current president, many elected leaders, and people I know for being silent, taking too long to respond, and in some cases, for having actions that may very well contribute to the current state of division in our country.

How do we fix it?
What do we do now?
What is next?

I don’t know, exactly. I hope you consider these, share these, and perhaps even put a few into practice.

Have empathy, and compassion.
Reaching out to someone who is living a life of oppression, these words can mean so much: I am sorry. I am here for you. What can I do for you?

Be aware of your media and news sources.
Vet them! Don’t trust that just because “*” types it, writes it, or says it that it is 100% accurate, true, or unbiased.

You will learn MORE by asking questions instead of making statements.  Read books not online quotes.

Honor Others
Honor their feelings, their words, their emotions. Their perspective, privilege, and experience is not yours.

Challenge Others
Your family, co-workers, close friends, and neighbors to have intention when thinking and discussing issues that affect others.

Think Intersectionality 
Be intentional with the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Stand Up and Speak Up
Challenge bigotry whenever you see it, regardless of who it is or where you are at.

Your Community
Learn about your own communities need, and complex history, and get involved to create change, by volunteering with groups and organizations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Write Letters
To public officials, not just to shame or condemn, but to build relations with and share your views and needs with.

To organizations and causes that promote respect, understanding, and justice

I love my neighbors, regardless of who they are, where they are from, who they love, what they believe or don’t believe; they are all beautiful, loved, and worthy!

-Rev. Royal D. Carleton “Chaplain Royal”