The most beautiful, and fitting, five words to describe a democracy: “And the people have spoken.”
This past week, in the most extraordinary, trying, and divisive year in our nation’s history – for one moment, we are reminded that we are, indeed, a democracy – however imperfect our union.
After a year of COVID-19, public health and economic strife, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and unprecedented levels of terribly divisive political discourse, many of us – and many of you – have waited for a moment where some manner of healing can begin.
I hope, trust, and pray that moment is now. Yes, we will still have the dreaded COVID and a wretched economy to deal with in the months and year to come, but the journey towards a more Beloved Community for our nation begins with a single step, and that first step just began on Election Tuesday.
I will keep President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris in prayerful consideration, given the magnitude of the enormous task before them. I had an opportunity to have lunch and spend an afternoon with Mr. Biden several years ago when he was Vice President, during a visit to Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. In that brief time, he struck me as a decent, fair, humble, and caring human being. We are more familiar with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as we collaborated with her Attorney General’s office on school suspensions and chronic absenteeism work in young men of color. It gives me goosebumps to witness this woman of color make history and represent her nation and her ancestry in the White House.
We cannot afford to leave the matter of a healthier, more prosperous, and equity-oriented nation for our new President and Vice-President to carry alone. It is fitting and appropriate to ask: What can I do? What must we do?
What can I do? Gandhi said it best: “Be the change you wish to see.” Be kind, be just, be peaceful, be nurturing, be optimistic in the face of darkness.
What must we do at TCE? Re-affirm and act through our values and principles: inclusion, equity, community, wellness, and racial justice. Trust and believe in our grantee-partners – they know the path. Every grant we make, every conversation we participate in, every meeting we convene, every email we send and every phone call we make, let it sing with justice, equity, inclusion, kindness, wellness, power, humility, and voice. These values and principles represent the truest path to Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of our nation as a Beloved Community.
It is in this way that each of us, in some small way, behave as what the Book of Isaiah calls “repairers of the breach.” Our nation possesses a substantial, divisive breach – and we will require many, many repairers.
That very next step begins now.