Take a breath- As you take that breath- feel the beating of your heart. Feel that pulse. The reverberation. The echo. The pulse of our humanity.
Watching the news- hearing phrases like “we will not let this define us” … I feel unsettled.
I don’t know how I feel about these messages. From all of my training as an educator, I know that in moments like this it is appropriate and normal for feelings vacillate, to shift, as we make sense of it all. What I do know, that it is important for us to FEEL. We need to feel today. We need to feel in our fullest today.
Here is how I feel today.
I feel that we should absolutely let this moment define us. It should define us in every way possible. We do not have a choice- we have to stay in it with each other. We have to recommit ourselves to doing our part to create the community in which we want to live. We all have different gifts and talents- and we need all of those gifts, in purposeful harmony, to create the community in which we want to live. And this is not an act of defense, it is an act of humanity.
We need to cry.
We need to scream.
We need to comfort one another.
And we need to get back to work. Hug your loved ones. Serve others who are in need of assistance. And advocate for dignity and justice beyond the dimensions of your own identity. Ask ourselves- what does everyone deserve and what does no one deserve?
I was in Washington DC on Saturday- and my heart was full of hope as I was able to experience the Pride Parade right outside my hotel. In less than 24 hours, I was reminded of the work I need to be in and we need to be in. It occurred to me that for many families- not only would they learn about the loss of a loved one, but perhaps for many of those families, it might also be the first time they learn about dimensions of identities of their loved ones- for the very first time.
Orlando has fundamentally changed. We need to be honest about the impact this tragedy has and will have in our community, and very specifically, people across the spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities and communities- and in the case of this incident- the disproportionate impact on young queer men of color.
What can we do? We can absolutely be defined by this moment- and commit to being in relationship- especially when it is most difficult. If you have an internalized stereotype- commit to examining it, and healing around it. When we carry judgment of someone because of their identities- think about how that heaviness of that judgment is keeping us from our own freedom and mutual liberation. Be in relationship. Be in relationship. Be in relationship.
Let this moment define how we reclaim our humanity- our pulse.