On this day after the election, many are asking themselves how this could have happened. Regardless of who anyone close to you voted for, and regardless of how you yourself might vote, in a democratic country, the questions still remain: How could so few be allowed to vote? Why do so few who are eligible vote? How can we call ourselves a country when there seems to be so much hatred between those with differing ideologies? Do we care at all for people who are not like us? These questions can be maddening, but I beg you, don’t give up hope. I promise you that just the thought of you gives so many of us so much hope. Especially me. And also, please don’t fall into the temptation to hate those who may hate you. These times we are living in are reminding me, oddly enough, of the Empire Strikes Back. Luke, reacting to the violence of the world tries to combat it with more violence and ends up getting his hand cut off. It’s only after he goes and studies the intricacies of justice that he is able to confront Darth Vader and the Emperor in triumph. If I were to pick a Grandmaster Jedi of our world, it would be Dr. Howard Thurman, the “pastor” of Martin Luther King. Dr. Thurman wrote of hate, “The logic of the development of hatred is death to the spirit and disintegration of ethical and moral value.” While hatred is a natural emotion, acting from it and allowing it to take root will never accomplish the goals we want them to.
I call you StillSpeaking Youth to combat what I have seen older generations do to younger generations throughout my lifetime and into history. Each generation seems to think that their generation was the one that knew how best to fight. I’m afraid that the older I get the more I might start saying to younger folkx, “At least MY generation had the Occupy Movement.” or “At least my generation was involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement.” But the truth of the matter is that every generation gets their chance to shine and be a part of creating what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called, The Beloved Community.
We hear a lot about Dr. King’s Dream, but what we hear are the little specifics, white children and Black children holding hands and blah, blah, blah. We often miss the big picture. The big picture was that Dr. King believed, as I do, that there is a world possible right here that is far different than the world we live in today. In that world: there is no hatred over religious and political differences; everyone is loved and cherished for who they are, no matter the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender expression; and people aren’t treated differently because of how much money they make or what job they work. That Dream is possible, but only when we all put our hands into making this Beloved Community come true.
I love each and every one of you so much, even when you get on my nerves I want to protect you from every harmful oppression. But the best way I know how to do that, is to try and help you be survivors in a world of hate. I always want to show you the survival tools I learned, and also the tools I’ve learned to help create a Beloved Community. Because I know, that just as I will someday be among the eldest generation of this world and that I hope to eventually be an ancestor that you call upon in your struggles, you will someday have to step up to the responsibilities of creating the Beloved Community in your own world just as me and my generation have. You don’t have to do it like us, in fact I really hope you don’t, we’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I want you to be those Love Warriors, I need you to be those Love Warriors, and I vow to be the Elder that you need. Just keep holding on and know this, the ancestors, including Dr. Thurman and Dr. King, are ALWAYS there when you call.
You know I love you,
Tai Amri (Baby Pastor and Jedi Master) Spann-Ryan