This month’s violence has overwhelmed me and, I’m sure, millions of others. I’ve stepped back from writing and chose to read others’ poems and essays and say prayers.
This has been my protective defense as every time there is a mass shooting, I think of my mother’s experience twenty-some years ago, which took place in the state office where she worked.
Thankfully, Mom is still with us, and we celebrated her birthday last night.
Mom re-experiences the trauma when another mass shooting occurs. My body reruns the emotions I felt when we waited outside the building, newspeople all around, held back by officers. It was a torturous time of slow-motion pain and confusion.
This is only one degree of what the parents feel about their children who they lost.
I thought about the unasked questions kids must have, and like a manifestation, I received this video from my friend, Amada, this morning. I want to share it with you.
This is a children’s book written by a school shooting survivor, Crystal Woodman Miller. It is narrated and contains five ways children can process feelings when they’re overwhelmed by thinking about these situations.
The link below will open to the Canva site where the book was created:
We can make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day one of honoring his life and legacy by applying his principles to our actions. Although his famously inspiring speech was fifty-six years ago, we still need his words to inspire us to do better.
Here are two quotes from MLK, Jr. which resonant with me today.
One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized, cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.
This screenshot from a video is disgusting when one sees the smug look on this teenager’s face who mocks Nathan Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder, and Vietnam Veteran.
The other boy has an open mouth, no doubt yelling in support of his high school buddy and MAGA hat wearer. This group of over 100 students jeered and shouted, “Build that wall.”
The group had been yelling at African American’s representing another group a few minutes before they turned their hate on the indigenous people’s group.
It’s 2019, to far along in the millennium and decades from Martin Luther Kings, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” on August 28, 1963.
The hate’s still there. The age is younger, blatant, conceited and entitled.
Nathan Philips continued his drumbeat, his chant for peace.
“It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’ ” Phillips recalled. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”
Phillips kept drumming and singing, thinking about his wife, Shoshana, who died of bone marrow cancer nearly four years ago, and the various threats that face indigenous communities around the world…Washington Post
For decades, Mr. Phillips has gone to the Arlington National Cemetery every Veterans Day with a peace pipe to pay tribute to the soldiers.
“They’re (the boys) just responding to a president that is giving license to racists and bigots who have no place in our society,” he said. “I wouldn’t even wish ill will on those kids,” he said. “My job has always been taking care of the fire, to keep the prayers going.”
This isn’t an isolated incident of hate crimes. You can Google ‘hate crimes’ and see all the conflicts this month: a Sikh man in Oregon attacked, Somalian immigrants in Kansas City targeted with a bomb to their apartment, and the list goes on.
But the purpose of this post isn’t to harp on the negative because hate cannot win. Everyday people can make a positive difference, whatever their age, ethnicity or race.
Today, promise yourself that you’ll seek social justice in whatever way you can. Be an inspiration. Find out about other cultures and ethnicities through conversation, reading, and exploring connections with others.
This is something you can do on MLK, Jr. Day:
Take yourself and/or your kids to any of the many MLK celebrations in cities and town throughout the USA. Take your kids, nieces or nephews, grandkids, your favorite kid to the library and have them read any of these children’s books