Sunday, June 21, 2020
I loved the Social Work program at the University of Michigan, for so many reasons. I loved the diversity in the city of Ann Arbor, as well as the diverse group of people in the Social Work program. This picture is of my friend Bobby and I. We are going to a Michigan football game, taking advantage of the student tickets. Bobby, Dana and I, cheering on our home school. It was a perfect day. Bobby was an extraordinary person. I wrote about her in a lengthy and complicated paper. She was sixty-something and getting her Masters Degree. She'd done so many things in her life, and I learned a lot from her in the months at school.
I studied diversity and joined diversity groups. I was interested in understanding other people and really getting to know them. There seemed to be a large number of Jewish students in my program, coming from many different states. It was great getting to know them and especially my young friend Dana.
Dana was in one of the first classes I attended at Michigan. I remember being so anxious, and feeling so out of my comfort zone. Dana took me under her wing right away. Maybe she could sense my fear and wanted to help me. I don't know if that is true, but she was a gift to me then, and later in the program. She was also part of a Jewish Christian Group I joined. I loved doing that, as I knew little about the Jewish religion and I was anxious to learn.
We went to a Jewish Synagogue for a service. I was there with eyes wide open, taking everything in. I loved the experience, but the moment I will never forget was so unexpected. A woman stood. She was a Holocaust survivor, and with great emotion, she pleaded with everyone there, to remember what happened in Germany. To never let it be forgotten, so that it may never happen again. I'd never met anyone who was a survivor, of that horrendous travesty to human life. I was spellbound, as I listened to her pleading in tears, that we never forget. Those moments will stay etched in my mind forever. That could never really happen again... or could it?
The answer is yes, it can happen again. History tells us the formula for such human destruction. The right leader and the right followers, with discord in the country, simply put. A dictator who pits one group against another. A bias and hate for anyone who is different, who does not fit the mold he creates. Separating groups, one from another, according to his discretion. Encouraging hate for those not like him. A dictator without a moral compass, without empathy and who is a narcissist. Need I say more? All this being said, I believe that something may upset this possible, brewing, hateful march toward disaster.
I was listening to a woman speaking this morning, on a news program. I found what she was saying very interesting. She talked about how the playing field was being leveled in the United States, because of the new Coronavirus. Many black people have always known about the lack of help from the government, when they are in need. Many are without jobs or paychecks, and some do not have food for their families. They have feared for the future, for themselves and their families. With Covid-19 white people have now known the same fears and concerns. They have depended on the government to help them ,when there were no jobs and lack of money. They feared for the future, for themselves and their families. They were worried about their children's education and healthcare. The playing field was becoming more level. I think she was correct.
The black woman speaking said something so interesting to me. She felt that the virus had made the feelings of anger and injustice rise in America. Yes, we were all isolated and fearful and some angry. Angry with the virus but also with the system, that left people unprepared in a time of great need. The match that set off the explosion of Black Lives Matter was captured by a stranger on a cell phone. Eight minutes of time to be exact. Exactly how long it took to murder a man, in front of our eyes. Black, brown, white and all shades of human skin saw that atrocity, that thing that cannot be unseen. To me THAT leveled the playing field too, because we all saw it happen. We all felt the rage toward the police, and connected with the pleading crowd. This couldn't be happening. Not here. Not in America. We all saw how little a black man's life meant to the police, and we were shocked, disgusted and angry.
The coming together of all races against police brutality, is joining us together. The horrible, never to be forgotten murder, has opened up dialogue between races. More white people are wanting to learn about their sisters and brothers of color, and how we can improve our relationships. I pray that this is the one good thing that will come of this deadly virus, that turned the world on its head. I hope it is the beginning of love for all, regardless of race or religion. I'm not blind or a total optimist. I know that there isn't now, nor will there be love, in everyone's heart. My prayer is that we will outnumber the other side, and that we will have a leader who has that love in his or her heart.
Keep learning about each other and loving each other. See the love and laughter in the face of a person different than you, and keep them as a friend. My friend Bobby had that for me and I for her. You can see that in the picture, I'm sure. I wish I could say, that I have had an abundance of brown and black friends in my life, but that would not be true. Consequently, I too, will reach out and connect in a more personal way to others, who I know, will enrich my life.
Be safe and remember that Covid-19 will not last forever and love is the answer for most things.