This word is always on my mind. It inspires me and defeats me, sometimes simultaneously. There are also times when fear creeps in, yet hope always emerges, just when I feel like I want to quit everything.
Today I was thinking about hope. I was remembering all the energy that I put into the last presidential election. We had all this hope. Hope that one person could create the change in which so many of us are searching for in the world. This hope energized and inspired, it created new bonds, it awakened a mass of people to dust ourselves off and to stand up. And so we were standing… at the starting line,
all warmed up…
ready to go…
take your mark…
…TAKE YOUR MARK!
The starters gun never sounded. And we were there! Toes lined up, ready, standing…
And slowly, we looked around at each other and we realized…yeah…we. are. up. WE. ARE. READY. We are paying attention.
At first, we were all mulling around in this strange state of shock. Hoping (there’s that word again) that some how change would appear out of thin air, based on one single persons actions.
Suddenly, after we addressed our collective shock, things started to become very clear. We, the collective, we the people, we’re going to create change with our own hands. We as a collective have now begun to create space for the PEOPLE and, as Paulo Freire writes, to become the authors of our own history. We as a collective will no longer, as Freire puts it, “preserve the system of the elite” that “divid[es] in order to preserve the status quo.” Dividing a people is easy when we feel that we are alone in our efforts, when we feel isolated. “It is in the interest of the oppressor to weaken the oppressed still further, to isolate them, to create and deepen rifts among them” (Freire). Dividing a people is not easy when we stand together.
Social media has brought to the surface the collective conscious of a people, it has torn down a wall of separation that perpetuates the sense of isolation. Now, the people have taken to the streets, “uniting many movements” as Amy Goodman said in an interview with Charlie Rose. We will not continue to perpetuate, what Martin Luther King Jr. refers to in his Letter From Birmingham Jail, a “negative peace,” a peace at all costs in order to maintain the status quo, and we will not except “a moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.” King goes on to say that in order to address injustice we must move toward a “substance-filled positive peace, where all [people] will respect the dignity and worth of human personality…[and that] we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension…we merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”
So let’s disturb the negative peace. Shake up the status quo. And get down to the messy business of peacebuilding!
So how does one sustain hope, be inspired and inspire others? Winona LaDuke offers a little encouragement in “how to build resilience in to your movement,”
- pace yourselves
- laugh a lot
- be happy
- polish your soul
- polish your spirit
- enjoy life