More than one truth

One of my best friends is moving away. And I will miss them dearly. When we parted there were happy tears about our friendship and sad tears about being so far away.

These days call for us to hold more than one truth at a time.

There were shootings in Paris and many other places around the world, Donald Trump is considered by many a serious contender for President of the United Sates, and there is a stream of citizen journalism refocusing attention to how polarization feeds into terrorist groups. 

For over a year, I’ve grappled with the reality of being in Ferguson, surrounded by black love and resilience, then returning home to a mostly white environmental justice group. The transition left depression in my body and my mind full of hope.

These days call for us to hold more than one truth at the same time.

A movement has emerged to pressure us all to remember and live into Black Lives Matter. This week five protesters were shot in Minneapolis. I have friends who’ve been out at the 4th precinct every night.  And when I went to my local solidarity protest in Philly, there was a multi-racial crew of folks out in support. Yes. Black lives do matter. All lives do matter. Our lives do matter. And we can make a difference.

One gift this past year has been Niyonu Spann and her Beyond Diversity 101 workshop series. I got my start years ago doing diversity training, and have been frustrated by the ways it sticks to the same scripts, that don’t make [enough] space for transformation, and that we center white [read: straight/cis-gender/middle-class/Christian] people’s growth. But Beyond Diversity 101 did something different.

It shifted the levels of oppression into a easily workable framework that I use regularly now. It’s a training that has real respect for the body-wisdom, while making room for our heads and spirit as well. Other tools I learned there, now help me sort out what’s going on in a group, in myself, and in the world so that I can choose sharper interventions that get to the root. And I didn’t have to work for anyone else’s learning (read: I didn’t work for the white people). I focused on my learning, but became more mindful of when my learning connects me with the people around me - whoever they are.  

And in this moment, I’m reminded of one of the goals. “Practice the skill of tracking three (and more) levels at once.”

This round of global crises, I’ve been holding more than one level. I am sad by what happened to peaceful protestors, my people, in Minneapolis. My mind saw this coming. My body feels enlivened and wants to run into action. Our society is in the midst of massive shifting, me included. As a Black man, I am pissed off and sick of this shit. And I am so grateful to be aware of what’s going on, with friends who care and are doing something and are in it for the long haul.

So when I was out at the solidarity march, I cried, I sang, I prayed, I watched friends, I joyfully reconnected. We are are going to make this happen. Something is shifting, and we get to be a part of choosing what it will be.