Grief, Love, and Remembrance

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A few days ago I found myself standing in front of the memorial for the victims of the racist, violent attack that happened last week on a MAX train in Portland. I stood there and cried, while other people did the same. Portland has always been my home, but standing there made me feel like I was somewhere else, in a place I didn’t know, even though I knew in my heart that it is very much this place, that led to this attack happening. This made it all the more painful. We have not done enough. I have not done enough. This incident has put a spotlight on the legacy of colonialism, racism, and white supremacy that is alive and well in our community and in our country. As long as hateful people can see their views reflected and held up in our society, these acts will continue. We must do more. I must do more. But, too many people claim to have the answers; claim to know the one righteous path forward. There is a general lack of humility and refusal to listen, that is pervasive is the current dialogue. Our community feels like it is both coming together and breaking apart all at once. But, I believe that there are no simple answers and I rarely trust those who claim to have them. Humans are more complicated than that. We live in both a causal condition, while also constantly striving towards free-will. Until we can recognize both the causality of our lives and our personal responsibility to act morally and ethically, we will continue to spin in circles of violence and extremism; of righteous self-indignation that leads to discord and the disintegration of compassion for others. We must start using love and empathy as verbs, not slogans. We must start listening, start seeking to understand that which makes us uncomfortable, and working to actively dismantle oppressive systems and ways of thinking that are woven into our culture. I am heartbroken that this happened and I grieve for the families who lost loved ones and those who were traumatized by this act of terror in our community. But, I will also continue to have hope knowing that most people are good people and that together we can work to make this world a better place for all.

 

5 thoughts on “Grief, Love, and Remembrance

  1. Leah

    “We must start using love and empathy as verbs, not slogans.”

    You are so right. You are also correct in saying that WE don’t do enough. The ongoing violent acts of hatred and bigotry are heart-breaking, but they must be a call to action.

    I’ve enjoyed recent reports of silent protests. Seeing masses of people, unified in opposition, peacefully, silently taking a stand would be a very powerful thing, indeed.

    Reply
  2. Leslie Peeples

    Agreed on all counts, right there with you. thanks for posting! ❤ There is a definite mental health crisis also though. The line between getting sick people help and not usurping their rights must be addressed as well. this guy proved publically that he was unhinged, yet no one would have been able to help him, he would have to have sought help himself. Mentally unstable people have trouble understanding that they are unstable.

    Reply
  3. Allison

    Thanks Lauriel – for being so eloquent and succinct in your expression of grief and hope. Love is what matters!

    Reply

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