Does COVID-19 Kill Compassion?

Most likely COVID-19 does not kill compassion. Probably four years of proactive modeling of toxic masculinity did kill some compassion. If it didn’t affect negatively, recognize that for many the toxic fallout from the Trump years is akin to PTSD, ravaging hearts, minds and spirits from coast to coast. In fact, few regular people could thrive under the conditions characterized by instability, lies, bullying and unpredictable rage—all the traits of David Koresh and other cult leaders used to control their followers. Now it’s not fair to blame the victims, but it is our responsibility to heal ourselves now that the tyrant is gone. In other words, time to relocate our moral compasses.

For me and many people, most of 2020 but the especially the last few months of the year and January 2021 have been traumatic and painful. The constant racial stress people of color have experienced combined with totally ineffectual response to the pandemic has led to distress and many socioeconomic problems. Compound that with sickness, food insecurity and isolation, and it’s clear that we need to reconnect with ourselves so we can help others.

Here are some steps you can take to heal society and yourself from the moral depravity of the last four years:

  1. Acknowledge the global pandemic and the toll on everyone’s lives in every country in the world. Accept that truth. It’s horrible. If you can help in some small way, you can be being to alleviate any feelings of helplessness and pain.
  2. Act in your community to protect your family and neighbors from casual COVID-19 spread:
    1. Wear a mask
    1. Distance from others wearing a mask
    1. Respect the six-feet rule around public ingress and egress paths; public spaces are for everyone.
  3. Take time out: Stay home with your family and cool off from social media.
    1. Watch a Disney movie, and turn off the news.
    1. Set up a family jigsaw puzzle table for the family.
    1. Have a weekly family game night after dinner.
  4. Work to reconcile with those you may have hurt. Start by toning down the volume even if you’re upset, a reprieve may bring a new perspective in the morning. Us the cool-down time for discernment. You may need to end some relationships that are unhealthy and cause distress.
  5. Engage in social activism to repair the damage. People are dying. Ask how you can help if you have extra resources, food and clothes. This is a global crisis. Many people need help in the US and abroad. Giving feels good. It also heals.

If you love me, hold me accountable. If you love yourself, be willing to be held accountable for your words and deeds. Accountability requires communication, compassion and desire for wholeness. We have a chance to bring about a new era in our society, one that demonstrates liberty and justice for all. Start with preventing the spread of COVID-19 and embracing the compassion that sees us all as humans worthy of life.

Edissa accessorizes a mask when she leaves the house to protect her family and community from COVID-19. She’s cool like that!

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A Better Dream

2021 has been such as been such an eventful year already. Who would have thought that Wednesdays could provide us with so much history and terror? Two weeks ago, on Wednesday January 6, 2021, I was on the road with my boyfriend for a celebratory staycation in the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, PA), when he got a call about white protestors marching to The Capitol. We got a play by play of how they proceeded to take it by storm under the guise of a “revolution”. Mind blowing right? What was even crazier was that we were scheduled to go Washington D.C. two days following this protest. Thankfully, our trip went well and the only thing we suffered from was disappointment because we were unable to see the sights while everything was locked with a vigilance that should have been in place two days prior. I digress… This Wednesday, January 20, 2021, however, was full of moments that will be ingrained in my mind for years to come.

I watched my Instagram feed provide gifs and stills of Trump’s underwhelming departure, streamed the inauguration of our new President Joe Biden live from YouTube, and I celebrated the birthday of a friend via FaceTime (Thank God for technology). It was a truly glorious day! Big moments aside, what I loved the most, were the little things, the moments within moments. Within the presidential inauguration, I witnessed three things: 1. The unbotheredness of Bernie Sanders, which has become a meme unto itself, 2. The array of color amongst the women present, and 3. the moment where I was gripped by the very presence and words of Harvard alum Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first African American youth poet laureate. It was these three things that highlighted the dream of a promising future for America.

Unbothered Bernie

There aren’t too many pictures, I feel, that represent my mood for 2021 so concisely. The year came in, ignored my “Dear 2021…” post, and began to wreak havoc in ways that myself and other members of the African American population knew it could. I can assure you that on Wednesday January 6, 2021, most of us sat in our respective homes and watched the news with the exact face Bernie has in the picture below. There may have been exclamations of shock and reproach, but I’m sure there was one person in the room who sat back and said something along lines of, ” That’s some white privilege” and “That’s none of my concern” because they stopped peaceful BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests with mace and tear gas, but allowed a storming of The Capital for reasons I believe are all too obvious… They were White. Anywho! Let this Bernie meme be our mood all 2021: Prepared and unbothered. May our masks be raised high, and our stress levels low.

Monochrome!

Do you see what I see? I see a moment from “The Wiz” where all the people danced around the television for the Wizard. The comparison is uncanny! It was glamorous, vibrant, and monochromatic. I LIVE for a monochromatic moment! There is such a strength, stability, and confidence that comes with wearing monochrome that I am certain that this fashion choice was the right one. It spoke loud and clear of the vibrancy that lies ahead for this nation. Watching all these fabulous women, I felt like it was a representation of the people waking up from a dead sleep under the #45th administration. It was like they woke up and decided to put on their “Sunday’s best”. I loved every moment of it.

The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gormon, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, is a Los Angeles native whose words have won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others. She also has work available for purchase, “Change Sings” and poetry collection “The Hill We Climb”, both being released by Penguin Random House this September. In addition to all these accolades, she is stunning! Her gorgeous melanin, complimented by her bright yellow trench immediately grabbed my attention as as she read her piece, “The Hill We Climb“. It reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech that inspired the nation, but there are so many unknown quotes from him that still resonate.

“But ever since the Founding Fathers of our nation dreamed this dream, America has been something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself.”

“The American Dream”, Martin Luther King Jr. , July 4, 1965

With the momentous sightings of Wednesday January 20, 2021, a palindrome mind you, I feel so hopeful. Hopeful that our fear-driven society could become one of love and peace and justice. Things have been so disjointed towards minority groups in this country since its conception that it will take time to maneuver and eradicate some of these things. People have been avoiding the darkness of this country for so long that they forgot it existed and now is the time to shed some light on it. The most powerful words uttered by Amanda in her piece pertain to light.

“There is always light is only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.”

“THE HILL WE CLIMB”, AMANDA GORMAN, JANUARY 20, 2021

If we can be the light that we seek, maybe the nights won’t be as dark, and if we remind ourselves of Joe’s quote from The Bible in his inauguration speech, “Joy comes in the morning” we can spread hope and love (light) instead of fear and hatred (darkness). Dr. King’s words and his life’s work may not have been fully realized in his time on Earth, but I believe we can achieve that dream in this new day and age. You’ve made it to the weekend, so have an amazing Friday my loves!

Slow Burn

Relationships are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get. According to Hallmark, they’re like cheesy late-blooming romances with a stranger from a small town that you never knew you needed. The stories are wholesome where most plotlines are cheesy and follow the same formula of a person falling in love after coming from a big city to a small town for business or family matters. It’s almost a fairy tale ending with the inevitable miscommunication and the hurt making up with the misunderstood, but they make falling in love look quick and easy. Relationships on social media, however, are a mish-mosh of everything from couples who only post their happiness to others who post everything from the conception of the relationship to its death. It’s so easy to get lost in the muck of it because even when the happiness you see is authentic, chances are you’re still sitting there trying to figure out why you’re still single or how to bring the spark back to your once vibrant relationship. There is also the chance that you’re like me in a new relationship trying not to self-sabotage due to unrealistic relationships you saw on TV.

A lot of us are subconsciously programmed to look for our relationships to start with the emotions of happiness and warmth we feel while watching a heartwarming film, TV show, or youtube couple. This warmth is something to desire, but it shouldn’t be everything we seek. In the Black culture, I’ve observed an emphasis on emotional intensity in association with the idea of falling in love. There’s a push in the media to look for immediate magnetism when connecting with a potential partner. Also, there’s almost an urgency to hurry up and find a love that is all-consuming in what I believe to be the worst of ways. Songs like Let it Burn by Jazmine Sullivan and Heat by Chris Brown ft. Gunna speaks of the heat one feels while falling for someone. Whether it is in love or lust is yet to be determined. Alternatively, songs like Burn by Usher describe the pain one feels at the end of a relationship. The common thread of intense emotion seems to be the desired symptom of falling for someone. It is what I call a red flame relationship where everyone can see the heat, the chemistry, and obvious attraction. With these relationships, as easy as it is to see the flame is how easy it is to extinguish it. This misconception that relationships need to start with an intensity of emotion and longing to be with another individual overshadows the truth that most sustainable relationships are built slowly on a foundation of fondness and a desire to get to know someone deeply. It is what I call a blue flame relationship or the slow burn. These relationships are not devoid of emotion, but they have balanced the logistics (the mind) of building a sustainable partnership with the emotion (the heart) required to nurture a relationship. All in all, they’ve counted the cost. If only I had had some of this wisdom in my early twenties.

My early twenties and even my late teens were full of what most would call “chance meetings” which led to short spurts of infatuation. I now call those chance meetings purposeful. They were introductions to key players in my journey to emotional maturity. Every lie I was told and every false hope I held onto in belief thinking “oh, he’ll change” were building blocks because I chose to change my perspective. When he didn’t want to choose me, I chose myself, and when my emotional needs weren’t being met, I voiced them. These choices led to the end of those relationships and I thank God they did! I chose to look at each individual as a teacher and I was determined to learn each lesson so I could move on because my cut off game is quick! But it was through those quick spurt relationships that I cleared my throat chakra, developed my voice and boundaries while keeping my heart open to love. I learned that open and honest communication about core principles and values like faith, child-rearing, and politics are the table our conversations about emotions and shared interests rest on. Being armed with all this knowledge and experience I find myself in a healthy relationship that I know I couldn’t have sustained had I not had those experiences and made adjustments to my mindset along the way.

As I mentioned before, there was a period where I almost self-sabotaged because things weren’t progressing how I had seen them on TV or as quickly as I had seen them manifest in other people’s lives. I will be the first to say I had unrealistic expectations. I was looking for the fiery magnetism and instead found a sweet calm and stability. Let me be the first to say that as an ever-adventurous woman, stability is far from boring. I find myself with someone stable who loves their family, makes me laugh from my core, compliments my personality, and shares my values as well as interests. I have such a fondness, appreciation, and love for this man that I can only attribute to knowing what it means to have had a bad one. These nuances are things that aren’t so readily discussed in everyday conversation about relationships. They are the things we hope to figure out and grow from along the way. Community is important to me, so I hope to inspire conversations among other young women who are as lost as I was and are slowly but surely finding their way. I am in no way an expert on all things love, I’m merely an observer and reporter on the subject and I pray my observations find you well.

Pandemic Verse in Senryu

Cold days are here now

How the body craves warm skin

Unsafe to be close

Manzanita path

I walk with humans I love

No smiles are seen

A thousand mornings

Only dog and I in bed

Isolation still 

Autumn apples rot

Many on the cold hard ground

Food for the loud birds

Virus to learn from

It is not just about you

Compassion is life

Harmful to gather

But nature is always there

Be grateful for this

Photo by Georgina Marie, Fall Morning, Lakeport, CA

Black Hair and Femininity Part 1 (Youth Speak Out Series)

From a young age, my mother has enforced in me the idea that my type four hair is beautiful. She taught me that good hair is healthy hair; that hair texture is not important and that everyone is different and unique in her own way. Like many Black women in Corporate America she spent many hours in a beauty shop chair under a hair dryer letting ammonium thioglycolate soak into her scalp to make her hair straight. After having me, her pride and joy, she decided to go natural in a successful attempt to teach me to love the hair that God intended to grow out of my head.

But as I grew up, went to school, associated with new people who looked different from me, and joined social media, I began to notice a pattern in which our society praises and uplifts people with tighter curl patterns, and typically, those people do not look like me. I also noticed how society is so quick to put an emphasis on masculine and feminine; short hair is seen as masculine and long hair is seen as feminine. While no one explicitly told me that I was masculine, as I got older I became more self conscious over my appearance and my hair because it as, and still is very short.

I’d never had an issue with my natural hair until I joined social media. Being the only Black girl in my grade level through elementary and middle school, being different worked in my favor. It made me stand out and set me apart from the other students. However, when I joined social media, I was introduced to other Black girls who didn’t wear their hair natural. Girls who wore weaves, braids, and wigs. Girls who had longer hair than me.

So here I am at thirteen years old, taking all of this in at once, and like every other person my age, I started to compare myself to these girls.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-misha-voguel-4407900.jpg
Photo by Misha Voguel at Pexels

Flash forward to 2020, now a high school senior I can confirm with great pride that my confidence levels have increased tremendously. But I’ve been faced with a dilemma that brought me years back to my early days of social media. I’ve been thinking about doing the big chop and cutting my hair.

The Election is Over, What Now?

On Saturday, October 31, I voted for the first time in my life. It was one of the most overwhelming experiences I’ve had to date. Upon arrival, I was inundated with pamphlets to read outlining each candidate. At the voting station, there were so many names on the ballot that I was unfamiliar with even after having done a bit of research but I ultimately knew that I needed to contribute to this election. When it was over, I felt relief. More so than how I felt on Saturday, November 09, 2020, as I watched President-elect Joe Biden give a speech that spoke to the state of our nation and how he would be a president for all people. Never before has such a promise been made on such a global platform. Hopeful as his words were, they left me with a lot of questions: Will this stance of unity be sustainable throughout his presidency, and what is his definition of unity? Does this unity come at the cost of our voices? And my main question is, what is our role/responsibility now that the election is over?

The roles of President and Vice President have been laid out for Joe Biden and Kamalah Harris by their predecessors, yet I feel their priorities are being challenged to evolve while the roles of the people are changing as well. To successfully progress toward true unity and civil justice, we must re-evaluate the roles we play in society in the movement toward racial equality in ideal America. I’ve observed a variety of roles in my life: The Instigator, The Foot Soldier, The Spectator, and The Scribe/Storyteller. The Instigator fans the flame of chaos, which causes strife and rifts amongst the people. The Foot Soldier is one to take to the streets protesting in a manner that could be either peacefully or violently. They can also participate in financial protests, where they are selective with their circulation of money. The Spectator, from my observation, has a lot to say, but no substantial contribution to a resolution, but a Scribe, is an observer who records and makes a report of their findings. I am the latter.

Now that most of America are at home, we’ve had much time to evaluate where we stand on a lot of issues and how we want to participate in them. There’s been protest after protest in the streets and Blackouts across the internet where people refuse to spend money or feed into the hatred and nonsense. I’ve seen more clips of people speaking out in public hearings this year than ever this year alone, but I find myself among those who sit back and observe and write and tell stories about the things we see and feel from the collective conscious. There was a time where I questioned the value of this and my value. Then I was reminded of great writers, comedians, storytellers like Toni Morrison (God Help The Child), author Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone), comedian Dave Chappelle (Sticks and Stones), and artists such as Childish Gambino (This is America and It Feels Like Summer) who are constantly giving social commentary on life as they see and feel it. The storyteller is no less on the frontlines and the foot soldier, we just function in a different capacity. We remind the people of what was and pose questions about what needs to be done in the present for our future.

I believe it’s time to listen before it’s too late. I was reminded of a post by Will Smith about how we must L.U.V. one another while watching a British GQ interview with Actress Michaela Coel, ‘If you don’t show it, it can be erased’. She said our responsibility is to now understand one another and Will said we must Listen to Understand one another, not just to respond. And we must Validate what we have heard before responding. It’s time for the youth to sit down and have a FaceTime chat with their grandparents to see what they had to endure, and what they chose to do in the face of injustice. It’s time to re-evaluate how we want to approach the matters we still face today and count the cost. It’s time to research sustainable alternatives for living because the Earth is growing weary of our excessive misuse of resources. We must decide on what we want and move unwaveringly. This planet is our responsibility. Our families and our neighbors are our responsibility and we mustn’t shirk them, but embrace them. Have you embraced your responsibilities today?

This. Is. US.

There’s been a sense of urgency and quiet desperation in the air these past few days. People are sitting on pins and needles holding their breath, praying for a hopeful turn out regarding the election. I’m writing this without the foresight of who has won the election, nor do I care. I have this nagging thought that no matter who wins or loses, things aren’t truly going to “go back to normal” or change at a national level if the people aren’t aware and willing to do the work that needs to be done on an individual level first.

This morning I felt the desire to scroll down my Instagram feed, as lately I have felt withdrawn. For weeks my timeline has been inundated with voting propaganda, celebrity endorsements, Biden memes, etc. and the whole thing is a turn-off. Because even if Biden wins and Trump is no longer in power, realistically it’s going to take some serious time to uproot the entanglement America finds herself in with racism and economic disparity. As I was idly scrolling, I came across the feed of @theshelahmarie who posted about Eddie Glaude who is an American Academic and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. What he said in this interview was profound.

To paraphrase, Glaude said that America is not unique in its sins. It has this willful ignorance that protects our innocence. He blew my mind when he relayed the fact that the Tea Party wasn’t about economic populism, but about demographic shifts. They were upset about becoming a minority, so they raised hell. That sounds much like alt-right groups today, huh? Glaude continued to say racism is the ugly underbelly of this country and the country has been playing politics on this hatred. “It’s easy for us to place Pittsburg, Charlottesville, and El Paso on Donald Trump’s shoulders.” He hit the nail on the head for me, when he said that Trump is a manifestation of the ugliness that’s in us. I will take it further and dare to say he is a manifestation of karma we’ve had coming as a nation and if we don’t change things now, this will happen again and again. A never-ending cycle of hatred. You may agree to disagree, but simply put, Glaude said “This is us.”

That statement alone shook me because it was jarring and controversial, and it causes a need for self-introspection as well as introspection of the collective. What was our role in all this? Did we educate ourselves enough? Did we fight enough? Did we sage before we left the house, or offer up thanks before our feet even hit the floor? And where do we go from here? I feel like we’re recovering ground in our search for truth amid all this fear-mongering and blatant propaganda. The collective is feeling the pain from the loss of loved ones, rage from the lack of justice, and fear of the unknown. The possibility of things being left open-ended can weigh on the collective consciousness, so do your part and check-in with yourself and make sure your mental and spiritual health is up to par, then check on your friends and family to offer support where you can. Support your local Black-owned businesses to generate circulation of wealth within your community. Support Black-owned businesses in general. The floor has opened to mental, spiritual, emotional, and political questions. Your voice and opinions matter, so keep the conversations going and remain open to understand others. There is as much space to disagree amicably as there is to agree. We have to set the standard and remain firm because it starts, is maintained, and ended with us people. We’ve made it this far together, and if we continue to lay the foundation and build one another up, we will thrive.

Free Your Mind: Mindfulness and Meditation

In my October post Watch Your Mouth!: Self-Care Through Self-Affirmation I provided a few tips on how to affirm yourself to stay grounded and centered in the midst of social upheaval and general chaos. This month, I’d like to continue this discussion with an emphasis on mindfulness and meditation to help you free your mind.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that invites individuals to detach from external stimuli and be present with and for themselves. Mindfulness can involve breathing techniques or guided meditations. It can also be movement based through fusing meditation with yoga, Tai Chi, or other sports. It is important to note that mindfulness and meditation do not require you to change who you are to practice it. In fact, as you begin living a more mindful lifestyle, you may find out more about who you are and gifts that you had locked away, or traumas that need to be uprooted and addressed.

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation?

Taking time to check in with yourself is one of the most important things you can do for your health. By taking brief moments throughout the day, or even a dedicated time once per week, some stress related health issues can be avoided, or the risk diminished. Let’s look at some of the other benefits.

  1. Stress Relief: Mindfulness and meditation help relieve stress because it’s a way to take a break from the chaos of your daily life. The world privileges grind culture and treats us like machines which we are not. It’s okay to understand that your capacity has limits, and meditation is one way to step away and reset when it has been reached.
  2. Helps with Anxiety and Depression: A large percentage of society is impacted by anxiety and/or depression. Whether the anxiety and/or depression are seasonal or chronic, mindfulness and meditation can help alleviate the symptoms. Of course, these techniques should be used in conjunction with other treatment options depending upon the severity of the anxiety and/or depression. Mindfulness and meditation can help alleviate certain symptoms because in checking in with yourself, and detaching for a moment, it enables to you calm down and discern the root of whatever triggered the anxiety and/or depressive episode if it is situational. If it is not situational, these practices can still help you recharge after an episode.
  3. Improves Concentration: Since mindfulness and meditation require a level of focus, these practices help you learn to filter out background noise efficiently.
  4. Keeps You Physically Fit: When mindfulness and meditation are fused with sports and other movement practices, you’re able to care for your body and mind simultaneously.
  5. Helps Unlock Creativity: If you are feeling blocked, try meditating and you’ll be surprised to see the ideas begin easily flowing.

How to Begin a Mindful, Meditative Lifestyle

  1. Determine which type of mindfulness and/or meditation works best for your lifestyle. I personally enjoy meditating with crystals (check back next month for my article on the healing properties of crystals) and also through practicing the afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira. Others enjoy meditating outside barefoot to connect to the earth’s energy. Some prefer traditional meditation. There is no wrong or right way to be mindful.
  2. Begin! Mindfulness and meditation are more than just trendy buzz words, they are things that we are all inherently capable of doing if we give ourselves permission to stop for a moment and be present differently.

Self-care isn’t selfish, take time to check in with yourself. To paraphrase En Vogue, free your mind; rest, healing, and so much more will follow!

Maintaining Our Stories As We Fight Injustice

Every day is an opportunity to make history — and to study it. Human existence is cyclical, and it is important as we move forward that we are aware of the behaviors we have and that of those around us. Jacob Blake’s 2020 shooting will undoubtedly be reported in detail in the news media, with the usual public personalities weighing in on what has happened.

Changing representation

Let’s look at the past for a second. Whydah was a major slave port in the kingdom of Benin, as well as the namesake of the pirate ship Whydah Galley.

According to one European, who visited in 1692–1700, Whydah exported some thousand slaves a month, mainly taken captive from villages in the interior of Africa. According to records, ten traders would round up 100 or more slaves at a time as cargo.

Currently, the Whydah is a museum found in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The site focuses more on pirate history than its deep involvement in the African Holocaust.

While it is commendable that it is a museum at all given this country’s history with maintaining African artifacts and narratives, the glaring absence of narratives concerning the slaves and their families, save for a few, is a concern.

Truthful, consistent media

In the present day, the officer who shot Blake, the city in which the incident occurred, and other specifics have all been named. For the next few weeks, pundits and politicians will offer their take, and citizens will righteously and angrily protest what happened that fateful day.

What happens in the future? Contrarians may begin their common refrain: he shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Why did he take this course of action or that?

Some time may elapse, intersecting the relationship between truth and sanity — alternative theories arise, and discussions about minutiae begin to blur the lines of honest conversation. Because so few answers are provided for each incident of horrendous police brutality, every report is met with hysteria, instead of sobriety and solutions.

After the hysteria has died down, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be manipulated and told that we were just imagining things; it really wasn’t that bad, and we believe the wrong information. It is here where an alternative timeline of events is introduced, and we begin to think that maybe we were crazy, after all.

Owning our story

It is as critical to bringing swift action to injustice as it is to be outraged about it. Brainstorming actionable steps and then working them also brings radical change. We have to tell our own stories and represent ourselves, for ourselves.

Get Uncomfortable! (Unlearning Oppression: Lesson 20)

Another week, another inexplicable shooting of a black person. And still it is very difficult for many White Americans in the United States to accept America’s racist foundation–as old as our country. The simple, difficult truth is that that our government invested long ago in the myths we unconsciously live by. But, like a concentric circle, our actions ripple through time and touch lives in myriad ways that we may never understand. Even so, we can begin to awaken from the stupor of willful ignorance–abandon the dark caves and step into the light of day. We don’t need to dwell in the past, to acknowledge it.

We all know it happened. Slavery happened. So did a whole bunch of other unfortunate historical events. Even if our grandparents did something, we don’t need guilt or shame–just awareness and consciousness about the legacy we’ve inherited. Denial won’t change the truth. On the other hand, Radical Acceptance can help us come to terms with the total and complete truth of our collective and personal histories. In fact, a contemporary, unapologetic approach to truthfulness allows us to recognize and reconcile our personal truth with those of our community. This can bring healing and restore lost trust and hurt where we need it most: In our hearts.

Lesson #20: Watch the documentary, The Uncomfortable Truth with your accountability, church, sangha or reading group. Discuss how the legacy of slavery has impacted all of our lives. Explore how individuals in your group confront their personal and ancestral truth in a healthy and safe manner.

The work of creating a just society requires a commitment from all of us. If we each own our own stuff, take responsibility for our words and actions and tell the truth, we’ll have a roadmap for a new dawn. We deserve that. Our children deserve that. The truth matters– no matter how uncomfortable it may be.


Featured Photo by Jason Reyes for Living Artist Project

Contributing Writer Edissa in her home art studio, thinking of ways to connect to her neighbors with compassion and kindness.