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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson is burning and we can mitigate the conflicts if we come together

Ferguson is burning, and as an American committed to building a cohesive America, I am deeply saddened to read the comments on facebook this morning. It has unleashed the bigotry in a handful of fellow citizens to say outrageous statements about "them" meaning the African Americans. Racism is not gone, it is subdued. I just pray and hope that we the people realize the severity of this, and don't let this divide us further, as it is not good for us.
Let me quote the Native American wisdom, " All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of earth," and add, "Whatever he does to the web, he does it to himself." As generous, kind, mature and bigoted Americans, together we have a choice to make it worse by venting our base, mean and unchained animus towards others or hold ourselves and think of the damage we would do to ourselves. We cannot afford to leave in fear and hatred of each other.
Most of the problems we have in our nation can be traced to one thing –and that is not knowing and being judgmental about others. Whether it is Ferguson, Racism, Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Misogyny or whatever creeps on us, it gains ground because we don’t know each other.
It is time to take initiative such as the Thanksgiving Celebrations and bring people together to "know each other". Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to appreciation of a different point of view. We have build this nation with lots of sacrifices and we simply cannot afford to let the issues tear us apart, and it will be a loss of all of us.


Listen to the truth:

We who believe in freedom cannot rest;
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes:  
 Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons,
Is as important as the killing of White men, White mothers’ sons.
That’s the song that Bernice Johnson Reagon composed and called “Ella’s Song,” honoring Ella Baker, one of the key teachers and leaders within the Freedom Movement of the 1960s. You can hear it – please do hear it!  -- sung by Sweet Honey on the Rock, the musical ensemble that Reagon founded.
And listen with a truth-tuned ear to Martin Luther King, speaking on March 14, 1968, three weeks before he was murdered:

“A Riot is the Language of the Unheard . ...It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the conditions -- intolerable conditions -- that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention.” http://portside.org/2014-11-27/other-america-riot-language-unheard

Or listen to Abraham Lincoln:

“If God wills that … every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, ’The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’ ”  (Quoting Psalm 19, verse 9.)

Lincoln was sadly affirming what Thomas Jefferson, theorist of liberty and practitioner of slavery, had said about slavery two generations before: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

I hope this gives hope to others, and each one of you can do this, as we did in  Dallas.
Mike Ghouse is president of America Together Foundation, and is committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  He is a speaker on Interfaith matters, pluralism and Islam. His info in 62 links at www.MikeGhouse.net 

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