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This Is Our Heart Still Beating

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

We raise our fists in protest. We raise our hands in peace. We feel change burning in our hearts and in the streets and in the very carbon of life. It burns so hot it ignites the flame in others, a need to band together, an urgency for transformation.

The pandemic had already traumatized us with its death and uncertainty - anxious weeks of isolation or sickness or worse. We’d just begun to venture out, still raw and grieving. From behind our awkward masks we eyed one another, warily. Are they infected? Am I safe?

Then, unfolding like so many times before - a white woman called the police on a black man birding in Central Park. Twelve hours later, a white police officer knelt on George Floyd’s soft black neck for almost nine minutes until he was dead, and then some.

America, where have you gone? I can’t breathe.

Protests were inevitable, but so much more than that. Protests are a reasoned, democratic and authentic action - not only in response to another obscene death but also in confrontation of the systemic and institutional racism in this country: Exploitation, discrimination, oppression, bigotry and violence. Yes, this is rebellion. And yes, it continues to build, enflamed by the cresting accelerant of aggressive rhetoric and direct retaliation by those with a sworn duty to protect.

This is our heart still beating.

Our country has become exhausted, unemployed and fractured – a nation of partisan and cultural divisions so dangerously deep that they threaten to bleed out our remaining common ground. Swindlers, consumed with an itching greed for profit, control and domination, have breached our social trust. They threaten our prospects for solidarity at a moment when we need it the most. We take to the streets because we are sickened and angry and burning up for change. No Justice – No Peace.

This is our heart still beating.

Our society has become unsustainable. The challenges we feel bearing down – poverty, climate change, public health, disparity, inequality, corruption – racism - the pandemic – they are all interrelated symptoms of the same broken system. It is the very bounds of our natural systems that closes in around us.

We are millions of voices from diverse cultures all with individual needs and talents; yet, we are as interconnected as we are different - a single community on a single planet. It will take us working together to forge a new way. And this rebellion is us starting to dream collectively.

This is our heart still beating.

Solidarity is the only path forward that can enable the conditions for freedom, justice and human rights for all. To foster solidarity means to promote the understanding that we are all in this together and we must act in concert to change our circumstances. Changing our individual, national and global fate will require unprecedented mobilization, guided by global vision and built on evidence-based collaborative action. International solidarity requires transformational change.

The critical message of our tangled complexity is that it is not new knowledge that we need as much as working together to weave our disparate threads into an interdependent narrative. The work is to define our unique elements and interconnections and blend them into a wider purpose. We need to act as one.

We live in a story of our own making. Our current path is not our destiny – it’s only a trajectory, the direction our wheel is turning. Our fate can feel inevitable and our conflicts unresolvable, but as we’ve seen, curves can be flattened. Change will come with a unifying narrative.

Together we can imagine radically different futures that are inclusive, intersectional and fair. When we envision new narratives and are able to tell these stories well – we create compelling, immersive truths that help us believe in transformation. United, we stand as one community to fight for equality, justice and freedom. Solidarity!

This is how our heart keeps beating.

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