In these last few weeks we’ve witnessed countless bold, inspiring acts of Spiritual Activism, with people holding space for equality, inclusion, justice and love. In case you’ve missed any of them, and need a dose of what’s right in the world, read on.
1. Healing Racism: In the face of great sadness, pain and confusion in the wake of the Mike Brown case in Ferguson and Eric Garner decision in New York, there has been an awe inspiring and very visible response in hundreds of cities and towns, where folks have gathered in great numbers, marched, rallied, prayed and staged ‘die-ins’ calling out for the much needed transformation and healing to end racism.
I prayed with other social justice activists this week, and as photos of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Eric Garner were placed on an altar, a wise woman shared a powerful reflection that’s been echoing in my mind ever since. She said: “When I look at these faces I see my own son, my brother, my uncle, my father. And until everyone in the country looks at these faces and sees their own son, brother, uncle, father, we won’t be able to end racism.”
Amidst the trauma and a recognition of how much work there is to do, it’s been inspiring to see concepts entering the mainstream that can help facilitate that healing, such as the distinctions between individual, structural and institutional racism. And a conscious dialogue is emerging about ‘ending white supremacy’ in all its forms, and it’s about time. Concrete tools for healing the ‘isms’ and ‘othering’—however it shows up in our lives—are available and awaiting our commitment. Check out https://www.facebook.com/ShowingUpForRacialJusticesurj and the hashtags #Fergusom #BlackLivesMatter for inspiration.
2. Ending Militarism: Each year, the weekend before Thanksgiving thousands gather at Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of School of the Americas, a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, to hold vigil for those killed by the military forces trained there. The events are led by faith-based groups who devote hours (often in the pouring rain) to a reading of the names of those killed, and after each one the crowd sings together “Presente” (present) to honor their lives, and crosses bearing the name of all those killed are woven into the gates. People also cross over into the military facility in courageous acts of peaceful direct action. See pictures from the recent demonstrations on Instagram.
3. Respecting the Earth and Indigenous Rights: In response to threats by Canadian oil and gas giant KinderMongan to run a pipeline through British Columbian cities, towns, traditional indigenous (First Nations) lands and protected areas, thousands of indigenous peoples, activists and local community folks have been gathering at Burnaby Mountain, with ongoing arrests daily as people stand in the way of machinery, delaying, however briefly, this violation of indigenous rights and threat to the forest and the oceans. Follow their powerful story in pictures, here.
These are just a few. It seems the world is alight with love and change. Thousands recently stood with WalMart workers in their quest for justice in the workplace, and a huge movement for democracy is in the streets in Hong Kong. So take heart, bold justice seekers, and stoke the hearth. Freedom is on the move!