“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
– Dr. King in his acceptance speech, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10th, 1964
Dear Beloved Community,
During times like this our values, personally and as a community, are tested. Now more than ever, it is increasingly important to reinforce the bedrock of the community we have worked so hard to build.
Our identity as a nation is being profoundly tested. America has forever been divided by race, but today we seem to be at a precipice. In this moment we stand in solidarity – to declare that bigotry, hatred, and white supremacy have no place in American society. The values our communities have worked to embrace – wonder, grace, contribution, agency, appreciation, meaningful listening, and patience, must be the foundation we ground ourselves in as we lean into this moment.
Witnessing the events in Charlottesville we are reminded that while so much progress has been made in the struggle toward racial justice, the long walk led by MLK, Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, John Lewis, Joanne Bland, Bernard Lafayette, Bob Zellner, Rip Patton, Amelia Boynton, the Graetzes and so many others who did not make it into history books has only just begun. We look squarely at their dedication, their courage, and again we are inspired to stand on their shoulders as we continue to strive for change.
In the words of Rev. William Barber, founder of Moral Mondays, “We must make a moral choice. We can take the righteous road of repair … or we can, as we did half a century ago [after civil rights gains], follow those who would lead our nation down the road of denial and retreat.” Barber challenges us, and we are certain that any pathway of “repair” must include confronting and acknowledging our history of racism and entrenched white supremacy.
As a step together in solidarity, we are launching a series of dinners + conversations this autumn. We invite everyone to listen, learn, lament, and even laugh together as we deepen our ties. We’ll be reaching out soon with details.
Our strength is the community you’ve built. It is in this community spirit, that we offer these actions as ways to face the weeks and months ahead of us and to inspire and refuel:
- Be connected. Let’s reach out for connection. You are a part of a rich and robust community. The power and strength in these relationships is deep and necessary. Let’s be encouraged to lean on each other and support one another.
- Continue to educate ourselves. It is through knowing the paths of our history and continued curiosity in each other that progress against hatred and ignorance is made.
- Care for ourselves. Care of self is a critical practice to combat the seemingly constant bombardment of local, national, and global events. It is ok to unplug and to seek relief from the pain and trauma that surround us.
- Share inspiration and motivation. The voices are many out there and we are reading and absorbing a vast array. Here are a few for inspiration, insight, and fuel:
– Professor Dr. Carol Anderson on the drug of white supremacy
– Author Roxane Gay on using our voices to make a difference
– New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on removing Confederate statues
– Poet and writer Sherman Alexie with a determined call-to-action
We are honored to do this work with all of you.
Felicia, David, Mary