Saturday, February 15, 2014

Celebrating Togetherness Alone

Our basic human rights are not guaranteed. Freedom and equality don’t truly exist for all. And, the fight will always be with us. There will be moments when long-sought victories will be won. These victories for freedom and equality ultimately are about togetherness. This togetherness is a precious human commodity that must be celebrated. Sometimes, celebrating togetherness is done alone.

One can even be alone within a crowded room. Maybe, those surrounding you don’t even know there is something to celebrate. It is possible that the struggle for freedom and equality feels as if something is being taken away by others. The beliefs and values of those groups of people are understandable. Often, these ideas originate from their parents, their families, their communities, their religions.

To these people, our victory is a defeat for their ideals, an attack against their freedom. Our togetherness is something that tarnishes their ideas and their beliefs, stoking their fears and anxieties.  Suddenly, they feel as if they are now the one’s on the outside looking in, exposed and threatened. This is a completely understandable response, as fear and intimidation were the tools used to teach them how to treat others.

The most boisterous of voices, the scariest of bullies have been unanswered for too long. For generations, these have been the predominant lessons learned: that someone must be less than in order to feel greater than, that those that are different from you must be evil. These same dynamics can be found not just within countries, or states but also our communities and families. To unwind these knots takes a relentless spirit. These knots are generations of lessons that must be unlearned, and that process is very painful and very difficult.

That is why we first celebrate togetherness alone. We must see all of us as being in this together, with all of our fears, anxieties and our knots too. If we don’t really believe this, we will become disheartened as we work tirelessly to stand up to the ignorance that has generated oppression, hatred and bigotry for too long.  If we can unwind our own knots, we will learn how to unwind them in others. We can do this; we just start with ourselves.