An Invitation to Educate Before Acting
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou
This morning, my intention was to finish and publish an essay and its coinciding lesson plan that I created for teachers to support their students with processing, healing, and coping with the traumatic side effects that may manifest among children who have watched the horrific YouTube presentations of real people being murdered, day by day, over the past week. But while my ideas and perspective on the subject continues to expand and unfold, I am finding myself being pushed in a direction solely focused on the projection of an appreciative energy in all I say, write, and do.
Woke up this morning. Went to Starbucks. Picked up the paper and a double shot of expresso with sweetener and soy. On my way home, I found five books at the free nomad-book-drop-off shelf on the corner of 181st and Broadway. Two about Buddhism, one Dunbar anthology, one writer's guide for narratives, and one handbook of quiet places to visit in NYC. How lovely, right?
Is it a crime against my "pro-black activist card" to follow the desire to post my soul's to-do list, rather than an opinionative essay about another hate crime in the land of the free, the abuse of power, the heart-piercing tears that came from another dehumanized black man's son, the fact that a little girl had to comfort and console her mother who screamed in agony, as they sat in chains in the back of a cop car? No. We have enough writers posting content driven by emotions and fear, not nearly enough about recreating our own reality and sense of peace. Another essay about how racist our world is, is not going to change the racism, it merely adds to it. People won't be awakened by the same story, we must change our thinking and our message. We have to alter our entire lifestyles, instead of acting off of what the news is showing us today. Imagine what would happen if everyone or even half of everyone, were to post words that were filled with love, understanding, and light about these events. I know people are infuriated, beyond it actually, but we will continue to be infuriated if we continue to consciously choose to stay infuriated. We, as a collective, not just we people of color, we, as in everybody that breathes air everyday, has much, MUCH more power than the little bit we give away - so freely - when we engage in the same repetitive and reactionary activities at the news of another unjust act of violence. Yes, the anger is appropriate and extremely useful but only if we are guiding our people on how to channel and direct their raw emotions toward the most impactful places. We have to realize, we are creators, not reactors! I mean, we seriously have the power to infiltrate mainstream media and get them to shift the narrative by using these instances as concrete examples of how urgent and critical it is to relinquish bigotry and grab a firm hold to unconditional love for all! We have the power, we just have to activate it together! This will take much more organizing than the makeshift efforts of an Instagram or Facebook post. And Twitter seems to be the place where more fighting is taking place than anything else! Completely disheartening to see everyone acting out of anger, not realizing that it is only going to bring us more and more anger. People need to be brought together, educated, come up with a plan, and then and only then will our strategies be as effective as we desire them to be. What if people were to use their platforms to exude peace, not just call others to act without thinking, without educating them, without a sustainable plan? What could happen? We need to educate and combat the ignorance. Screaming and protesting together is only one way, let's not stop there, we have to teach people - we have to change their mindset. It starts with changing our mindsets first!!
I am willing to find out, just by doing my part here in my cyber-corner of the social media world. I am willing to lead by writing lesson plans and finding classrooms to facilitate them in, even though I am on my summer break from school. I am willing to write a list of positive aspects about the situation. I am willing to believe the affirmation that our great grandchildren will not know of such a world where gun violence is as normal as a loaf of wheat bread. This is the work I am willing to put my energy into, with confidence that more and more people will begin to do it too.
I need a tribe. I need more educators and change makers who share this vision, who understand the need to educate before acting! If you're out there, let's link up! Let's plan and work toward a higher level of progress! I'm talking nation-wide teach-ins. I'm talking about impacting hate with light and literacy. This is the way!