I spoke to a crowed at the end of our protest march in front of the Boston State House. I am feeling a desire by many to bring true change. But that will not be easy. This march/protest was aimed against policies on deportations and refugees and Muslims.
I am with Jackie here, she is my friend; I am her friend. She is my ally and I am her ally. We stand with others as friends. Let me be clear here: I love people. And because I love working-class people, I have decided I can no longer be a friend with those who support the legislation of hate. What does this mean? I will not travel with you nor visit your home. If you are against LGBTQ folks, female rights, undocumented friends, black, brown, and others, and if you support hate and American exceptionalism, I am not your friend and you are not my friend. This is not just a virtual notion; it is true for me day-to-day. If you believe you are “just” due to your faith — we are not friends. To be my friend means you are my ally, and thus are seeking to evolve by walking with me to denounce bigotry. I will work with you on the job. I am working class and have to pay the bills. I have no interest in your religion or church if your members are not allies. I will be nice and say hello – Mom and Dad raised me well. I will work beside you at work — but just know I cannot be your friend; if you are not my ally, we are not friends. If you are arguing about my realities and the realities of my friends and allies – we cannot be friends. We cannot break bread in my home or have a glass of wine.
Here are a few thoughts about the People of Color Conference: I love this conference. I was in the lobby having coffee with a colleague from the Woodberry Forest School by 7 AM Friday. It was the first time we had met. We ended up having dinner that night, as we had much to discuss. We could not talk enough in a 40-minute meeting at 7 AM.
Heads of Schools are the true change agents; if diversity among faculty and students are weak — often it is because leadership does not think it matters. What a lonely place for folks.
Friday I attended an LGBTQ session for students of color and discovered that Brooks is doing very well in this area. I managed to organize an LGBTQ gathering among independent schools by the end of the session.
Walking back to our hotel saturday night, I chatted with my GSA co-head; I love how energized she is to sit and advance our great work here at Brooks.
I love this conference. I am feeling energized and empowered.
This past Easter Sunday I heard our school minister speak on Jesus as a person who championed diversity. He embraced all people and focused his efforts on love. I am one who greatly appreciates our chaplain’s wisdom, compassion, love, and empathy for all people. I am one who believes in the good of religion, particularly Christianity. I have seen its beauty first hand. Sure, I am not a highly religious person. And, I have just as much doubt as my fellow atheist; however, I have elected to work with Christians who value others and appreciate the beauty of love, empathy, and compassion for others.
My wife and her family represents Christians who love Jesus and believe in such teaching. I am troubled, however, by Christians who see otherwise. Further, I am bothered because they feel empowered to be the ponds of politicians who are playing a game for votes; we have seen this before. The manipulation of people for political gain. Now, there are those who are Christian that have their own agenda. I am sure Christ would warn them against using hate to advance his mission.
On the other hand, I am bothered by non-Christians who group all Christians, Muslims, and Jews together. Many have little to no knowledge of religion. They use poor Christopher Hitchens like examples to dismiss the good of religious people. I have even concluded that they, like some Christians, have their own agenda. And, some but not all is based on silly claims. I am also bothered by their lack of religious understanding.
In the end, I would like both sides to place their own interest aside for the good of love, compassion, empathy, and righteousness in a plural quasi-democratic society. As an academic who is well-balanced in terms of emotions, I have an obligation to help both parties. We shall see.