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The answer to this question is the subject of this article, but first, how do you even introduce such a topic at a time like this? Healing at a time of plague?
It is not easy to talk about healing and recovery in the middle of a pandemic. But, if George Floyd murder, trial and its outcome teach us something-it’s the fact that we are beginning to appreciate, as a nation, that we cannot go on without confronting rampant incidents of racial injustices in our midst. We are coming to grip with the fact that, we must confront these issues and demand accountability from everyone if we are going to find healing and restoration and be able to trust each other as we work to forge new ways to move ahead as a society.
The trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was found guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced.
I invite you to join me as I reflect briefly on two foundational aspect necessary for a community to experience healing and restoration using an excerpt from my new book available at Barnes & Noble online bookstore: HOW TO RISE ABOVE RACISM: A Primer for Understanding the Broader Ramifications of Implicit Bias.
I share this in light of the history of negative experiences of racism, discrimination and implicit bias that many members of minority groups have experienced here in American and abroad.
ALL VOICES ARE IMPORTANT
There is no better place to start the process of Healing and Restoration, than acknowledging that all voices are important.
When it comes to healing and the need for restoration, we cannot start making the necessary changes that are needed in any sector of our lives unless we understand why healing and restoration is necessary. And the voices of those who have experienced the broad ramification of injustices can aid us in this area.
TIP: Things get better when we try to make things better, together. But you can’t say “make a difference” or “change the world” as a team builder, thought leader, academic, or serious leader or thinker and leave people out.
This is why listening to all the voices is important.
Listening to the voices of those affected is the only way we can gain a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism has impacted our lives and our communities. As a society we all need to unite together to learn and grow in this important area.
TIP: The rapidly changing demographics of the United States and the changing demographics taking place in our respective communities require us to be proactive in facilitating respectful conversations that will challenge us to examine our own implicit biases, cultural biases, and stereotypes.
We have to accept that those impacted by injustices for years know best what their needs are, and start involving them in the decisions that impact their lives. This is where healing starts.
The act of listening allows us to seek and utilize input to ensure the changes made align with their needs. This process also helps us with identification of the barriers that the victims of racism face and the systems that create them with a goal of enacting the needed change. Remember, if left unaddressed, these issues will never resolve on their own.
Truth and Reconciliation efforts
Each community has to go beyond wanting healing and restoration to happen or having an interest for such a noble task to take place, and actually show commitment by being proactive and taking positive actions toward this great work.
The Iowa City community leadership in the great state of Iowa where I reside is a good example of what it means to show commitment in this area. The city council officially established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in September 2020.
The purpose of the commission is to address issues of racial injustice in the community it operate and carry out restorative justice, through the collection of testimony and public hearings, with such work to include a recommendation to the community leaders of a plan for making changes that foster equality and progress for all.
It seems to me that this is a good place to start, in dealing with issues that we have ignored for such a long time.
Many people are interested to see a fair and more just society that offer, equality and progress for all, but we have to do more than that, and follow the example of the Iowa City community leadership by showing commitment. We all can participate in this process in one way or another to help move towards healing and restore our communities. I believe great positive results will come out of our individual collective efforts in this endeavor and that’s why I dedicated my new book: HOW TO RISE ABOVE RACISM: A Primer for Understanding the Broader Ramifications of Implicit Bias, to those working hard for a fair and more just society that offers equality and progress for all.
Let’s join hands together and go do it.
Joe’s mission is to help educate others become conscious of their entrapment and empower them so they can find freedom and joy in life. He is passionate about helping people cope and grow through their experiences in life-changing circumstances.
Joe can be reached at: email@example.com
Amid the confusion, uncertainty, and constantly-changing environment under the COVID-19, I wanted to remind you that you are part of a community and that you are not alone during this time.
Why do you need to maintain a sense of a community? because it’s easy for us to feel alone or isolated in a time of social distancing. This is especially true now, when our need of the community is at it’s highest level.
It’s also important to not lose hope no matter how difficult the situation feels and look right now. Hope is important because when the world feels uncertain, it’s important to know there is something to pull you forward.
Note: In this article and in other pages you will find blue underlined words (links) where you can click to access more detailed information on the topic at hand to enhance your learning and understanding of the material and to provide you with resources for your own support when necessary.
We are in this together … separately
I have posted helpful information on a new site that I am putting together to help those who might be searching for current updates from trusted sources on how best to deal with the current epidemic. (in case you received this message through email this is for you, otherwise if you are reading my post you are already inside the site. keep reading to know how to access helpful information)
The website where I have this information is not completed yet and so it has not been launched although there is valuable content that’s ready for access, but I felt compelled to put this resource in one location where its accessible by everyone who might be in need.
In the coming days and weeks, as we get more updates, I plan to upload more reliable information from trusted sources on this new platform.
Feel free to head over to ARCI and see what you can learn now or in the next few days and in the days to come. Here is the link: Get Resources. This knowledge will curb the spread of disease and reduce anxiety.
Remember, we are in this together although separately-
In short, we need to come together by NOT coming together, but do our best to stay connected this way.
One more thing:
I hope to continue my small contribution in strengthening our community through sharing of knowledge through this site that am putting together. I also hope that it will be a great source of inspiration and a center for invaluable resources for everyone.
We are working on ways to make the Community even better by adding more diverse resources and topics of mutual interest on this one place. This resource that I share and make available in this location is a good example of that. So, go over and Get Resources.
I pray that the ARCI become a place of enrichment and refreshment as well as a beacon of hope during this unique time.
Remember to enhance your skills and knowledge by reading our recommended books right here.
We’re all in this together,
Joe Mungai, LMSW and the ARCI Team. All Rights Reserved