It's Time to Celebrate What Connects Us...
Happy Interdependence Day Everyone!
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” -Martin Luther King
Back in 2008 I wrote a newsletter for Nectar, "I've decided to single-handedly start a holiday that reminds us how fabulous we can be because I'm sick of people doing shitty things to each other in the name of division and borders, and mine and yours, and I am better than you. Yes, I have decided to personally start my own holiday that celebrates unity and connection right smack on top of one commemorating separation and war, usurp it to give it a message that we all urgently need to be focusing on instead..." It seems either my idea caught on or it was merely part of a zeitgeist wave. In any case, kind humans beyond the Hudson Valley community have also been honoring a more inclusive reason to celebrate.
The Huffington in 2011 had an article entitled "This July 4th, Let’s Celebrate Interdependence Day!" The author went on to write, "Patriotism can be a dangerous thing if it leads to amnesia about the dark patches of our nation’s history. And it can leave us shortsighted if our nationalism prevents us from seeing pain or hope beyond [or within- my addition- JW) our borders. As an American [---] I am convinced that a love for our own people is not a bad thing, but love doesn’t stop at borders. Love is infinitely boundless and all about holy trespassing and offensive friendships." There have been others, just do a quick Google search.
Have we ever had a more heightened urgency to remember our need to be better stewards of this beautiful earth and ALL its creatures? There is so much divisive rhetoric, too much destructive policy. Let's each do what we can tomorrow to counterbalance all the hatred and the unconsciousness, shall we? It is more than time to engage in truly compassionate, forgiving conversations. It is time to embrace our collective grief, shame, guilt, wounds, and incredible capacity for beauty, forgiveness, and healing. It is time for more gratitude and to embrace what connects us, and work together against what harms all of us, our earth, and future generations. It's time to recognize our interdependence...
"All we need is love, la da da da da..." -John Lennon
In case you missed my Interdependence Day newsletter in prior years (or don't mind celebrating with me all over again,) I am "re-printing" the original piece that I wrote in 2005 to celebrate a more unity conscious July 4th. It still seems to be timely. And so, with with no further ado... here it is with some minor edits (particularly my sons' ages).
Friends... I am a mother of 3 boys, raising them to feel not better or less than anyone, and that the world is a place they should explore with compassion. That they are American just as much as they are children of this bountiful amazing planet (and therefore must be responsible stewards), and that humans-animals-minerals-earth are all deeply interconnected and reflective.
My parents were born of religions that have historically warred against each other, with a motley creative cocktail riding in their genetic codes from 6 disparate countries and uncountable philosophies, political orientations, and tastes. There were different languages spoken in both households of my grandmothers' homes (English, Yiddish and Truck Driver) in one, and English and French in my father's, mostly screamed at one another. I loved how colorful and real it was, and enjoyed the differences. My two older sons have even more cultures and ethnicities tucked into their blood lines. They may have light skin, but they proudly carry their ancestors within from countries and cultures quite far reaching: they are African, Honduran, and Irish from their Dad, French, Italian, Russian, Belgian and Polish from me. But their little brother, almost 8, lacking any obvious African or ethnic descent and born of a different father, feels no less a brother to the two men he loves without bounds.
Now at 22 and 25, my eldest sons are very attuned to the fact that racism, sexism, and judgments are perceptions and yet still an obviously widespread problem in our country and beyond. Certainly children are never born racist or sexist, 1 in 5 American families are of immigrant origin, and our connections are the things we must focus our attentions on and heal (through and with), to instead work together to help repair the issues that affect all of us. To me what has made America so incredible is the swirling multi-cultural, multi-idea-filled pot that it is and how those spearheaded notions of tolerance and diversity have had a positive impact on the world. And yet we seem to be back-pedaling. BIG time.
As much consciousness and love as there is, humans (again, too often) continue to tragically commit too many heinous acts of violence against-- this planet, animals, the color of skin, sexual orientations, and in the name of cultural or religious difference.
We could all drum up plenty of truly violent and overt examples of humans' intolerance, but I will select one that is lighter and yet to me, says plenty about how we are too often not connecting the dots. Not long ago I was trailing behind some fast-driving Jeep Laredo with two decals in their rear window that announced, "My car is happily burning the gas your Prius is saving..." and then on another along side it: "F-ck your Prius."
It was flabbergasting on many obvious levels, but beyond my disbelief that someone would advertise their blatant selfishness and idiocy was the thought: are these mass-produced or did he go to the trouble of having them custom made? Whether it revealed that he is part of a (hopefully small) movement or trying to spearhead one was disturbing either way when so many of us truly care about the effects our actions have on others and the world.
Still, I believe most people are good and well-intentioned. I've worked in the service industry my whole life and have had direct access with countless thousands. Out of all of them, there were literally only a handful of truly obnoxious people I have encountered that don't represent the best of who we are. But those few were always the loudest and divisive, and I think that happens to be the way it is with the world at large. Especially when the media loves to glorify and spotlight those few, rather than the infinite good people living quiet lives. Not nearly as scandalous and sensational.
So rather than give up hope on humankind, I've decided to single-handedly start a holiday that reminds us how fabulous we can be because I'm sick of people doing shitty things to each other in the name of division and borders, and mine and yours, and I am better than you. Yes, I have decided to personally start my own holiday that celebrates unity and connection right smack on top of one commemorating separation and war, usurp it to give it a message that we all urgently need to be focusing on instead. Well, it's actually my third year as I coined the phrase in 2005...
Happy Inter-Dependence Day Y'all! May all creatures be happy, peaceful and free... and the earth be lush with clean air, water, and soil for seven generations to come.
P.S. Gratitude to Unsplash for most of the photos herein. The heart hands (1st image), and both images of two multicultural friends/girls, I unfortunately could not find photo credits for. Gratitude for these amazing representations of inclusive love!