It feels wrong to not address what went on in Charlottesville this week. I’m the one living in a developing country with no hot water, but all of you back home are living in a truly barbaric time. I feel shame and utter sadness when I think of home.
How does one respond? How are we supposed to grapple with a society filled with so much hatred, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness? How can we possibly persuade someone to choose kindness? I don’t have answers.
I am reminded of the words of the aspiring young feminist I talked about in an earlier post. In her words: “If you believe in something, just do it. Others will see, and they will follow.” Please: don’t sit back and watch. Care. Speak out, stand up against this nonsense. Resist. Protest. March.
I truly believe that all hatred comes from fear, and fear comes from the unknown. So what better remedy for such an obscenity than education? We must learn to decenter- to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to see the world from someone else’s point of view. And we have to talk about it.
I am keeping a log of all of the people I’ve met since I’ve been here. Today marks 52 people, countries of origin ranging from Singapore to Moldova to Australia to Holland to Trinidad. The other day, a friend asked me if I was getting bored of having the same conversation every time I meet someone new.
No. It’s not getting old. I’m getting really good at explaining what I’m doing here (still figuring that out) and what TGC and the Minerva Fellowship are. Really, I am just learning– about social initiatives going on in this city, about strangers’ perceptions of new places, about different cultures and languages, but most of all, I’m just learning about people.
I feel lucky and humbled that as a Minerva Fellow, I get the opportunity to return to Union for the month of May to share my experience, and educate the community about a culture and a people different from their own. My hope is that this will be my small contribution in moving towards a world filled with more unity and compassion than difference and hate.
I stand in peace and solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy, and with those fighting for social justice and equity.