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A New Beloved Community

"And That's A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!"

There is so much going on around us. I do not know about you, but I just feel like I’m dragging. Tired. Worn out.

Yesterday, we lost two giants of the civil rights movement, and we celebrated Nelson Mandela day. All in one day.

Yet today I’m shaking the dust off my feet, and heading into this new day holding onto promise. Holding onto the idea of the “Beloved Community.” What is the “Beloved Community?” It is the community Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings. A society that is inclusive of both economic and social justice.

This morning I picked up my copy of Audre Lorde’s book, ‘Sister Outsider’ which is a collection of her essays and speeches. One of my favorite Lorde essays is, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.” Lorde was a black feminist poet, essayist, and activist and she is one of my sheroes.

As I reread the essay, with the Oprah special on Congressman John Lewis’ life and sacrifice playing in the background, it struck me that the essay had been written in 1977 (the year after I graduated from high school). What struck me is the fact that the essay could have been written yesterday.

In that moment I knew what was driving my weariness. I knew that my silence…my idea of the Beloved Community was slowly slipping away. I knew that my voice…my words were all that I have. It is all that any of us have, to move us towards the Beloved Community. And if we choose to stand on the side lines and watch history unfold, we will all be weary and tired.

Lorde’s word reverberated in my head…”what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end."

I realized in that instant that we are all called upon. We, the collective are all called to move us towards the Beloved Community. We can transform our silence into action and pave the way forward for those who come behind us.

Today, if you want to move beyond your weariness, use your words. And remember, in the words of Audre Lorde, “Your silence will not protect you.”

“And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!”

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