I want to address the violence against Asian-Americans. It is so important that we become anti-racists. We must take a stand. Abraham Joshua Heschel said that “we are not all guilty, but we are all responsible.”
One of favorite poets, Mary Oliver, wrote: “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Well it seems to me that fighting for justice is one way to spend “your one wild and precious life.” What does that mean? What can you do? As individuals we often feel powerless.
For me, first, comes always the need to grow and expand my consciousness because only that will end the racism that plagues are society. This is best accomplished through meditation and mindfulness practices.
Second, we could imitate South Africa, where 10% of the population that was White controlled 90% of the Blacks. One thing they had going for them was Nelson Mandela. He established the Truth and Reconciliation” committee. This was a place where Blacks could express their anger and outrage, and issues of compensation discussed.
We need to do this in the United States as well. We rebuilt Europe after World War II under what was called the Marshall Plan. If we can rebuild Europe and Japan too, then surely, we can have another “Marshall Plan” dealing with racism.
One example in our own country, was that soldiers benefited from the GI Bill. This allowed soldiers returning from their service to buy their first house with no down payment and low interest. They could also go to college and/or other programs of training. These actions created the greatest middle class in world history. We could do that simply because we have done it before.
Philosophy asks that we think for ourselves. We study issues and make up our own minds. We cannot do everything, but we can pick one thing. For example, I support financially Bryan Stevenson’s work with the Equal Justice Initiative. This is the battle against the Prison Industrial Complex, what many are calling The New Jim Crow, which is the name of a powerful book by Michelle Alexander.
What will you commit to? Define what you are for and not just what you are against.
So, “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I send my best wishes to each of you and hope you will stay healthy and in touch!