09 Jun What Good Can Come of This?
Who would have thought the brutal murders of several black men and women would, after so many years, bring out millions of people to rally for the value of all human life — especially black lives –and to protest police violence and injustice?? Who would have thought that a virus, invisible to the naked eye, could cause a massive global disruption – taking tens of thousands of lives, throwing people into poverty and homelessness, and wreaking economic destruction?
Can good come from all this violence, death and destruction? How can we find meaning in the midst of pain, sorrow, death, grief and loss? Where can we find it?
Perhaps a clue can be found in nature itself – the very nature that set in motion the destructive power of a virus. Just as a seed can be released to the earth to grow after a forest fire, so, too, we can be freed to live in new ways. This I believe would be the hope of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
What if we take collective action to turn the horrific deaths of black men and women at the hands of white supremacists and police officers into ultimately making the world a better place for all human beings than it was before the pandemic struck? What if we could create a world in which all humans have equal access to human rights? What if we can transform white privilege into privilege for all?
What if we take the time and make the effort to truly listen to each other? To be kind to one another and to respect and protect each other’s need for safety, particularly those who aren’t and haven’t been safe? To offer love and support to those most in need? To build systems that care for the most vulnerable, and those who have been excluded? To make sure all children and seniors (and everyone in-between) have safe places to live, enough to eat, and access to quality education and health care? To ensure that we all can drive to work, school, the beach, or anywhere, without fear of being stopped by police because of the color of our skin?
What if our world leaders decide that dismantling racism is pre-requisite to ensuring human rights and equal access to all? What if those in power are willing to examine their own internalized racism and classism? What if they decide to see it for the violence it is? What if they then take action to strip racism and classism from institutions, government, and organizations? What if we decide that collaboration and cooperation are far more productive than strident nationalism and polarization?
What if our families embrace what we have learned about the fragility and resilience of life, the sacredness of relationships, and the unpredictability of nature? What if we act on what we claim, that black lives matter? What if we teach our children to be anti-racist? Might we then embrace one another in love and celebrate the differences that make us unique? Might we let go of our desire to be right, or in control, for the sake of a deep and profound connection with those around us?
Yes, there is hope for a better world. It is up to us to create it.
Carol Pitts, PhD, LPC, LMFT, CPCS, is Clinical Director of CHRIS Counseling Center – DeKalb and can be reached at carol.pitts@CHRIS180.org.