Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On The Way To Exceptional

Our Coffee House Conversation On Race Relations had one specific aim. We were intent on creating a community dialogue rather than a debate. A dialogue that would generate community growth and development through purposeful conversation based on civility and respect rather than offensiveness.

But we were challenged by recent events. So we asked ourselves, could a group of, potentially polarized, concerned citizens come together and converse without volatility? 

Would present conditions, in the midst of the uprisings evoked by circumstances in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City surrounding the deaths of two young black men -- and then the murders of two policemen, allow cooperative conversations?

I never doubted that we could and that we would.

Yet in the weeks immediately preceding what would turn out to be a heartening and hopeful conversations experience several of my generally supportive allies set themselves to diligently riding me. They were concerned that our event might disintegrate into name-calling and other forms of oppositional discourse and disorder.

None of this occurred.

With the aid of an exceptionally fine panel of community leaders to support the intent of my opening address; Guy Djoken, NAACP’s local president, two well-spoken police officers, Capt. Jason Keckler and Cpl Rebecca Carrado, wholly dedicated to community engagement, and Kathryn Ruud of Stop Polarizing Talk, the tone was set for us to create an afternoon of community enhancement.

Dissension would have been as foreign to this group as a snowstorm in July.

I can’t say we are yet out of the woods. Pockets of substantial difficulty still surround that Saturday afternoon oasis we created, collectively. For example, gangs are known to proliferate in certain areas of this county, Frederick, Maryland, that yearns to be more than ordinary.  In fact, what may have been a gang-related incident of school violence occurred within days after our laudable event.

But we have made a beginning.  A spirit of “want to do” and “can do” is becoming the norm for the back story that is unfolding since our Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations made its auspicious start.  On a personal level, every day now I find myself coming home to a part of myself that may have been, beneath my consciousness, lying untapped; the part of me that knows that “life is with people”-- and -- that I am most alive when I am contributing to that life in motion!

No comments:

Post a Comment