This past week has been interesting to say the least. Emotions continue to be high as one president exits and another one enters. I found myself having to unfriend someone I have known since I was an undergraduate in college because of the personal attacks he made against others whom I am friends with during a conversation on Facebook. Here is the status that I posted after I unfriended him: “Please understand that I post about things that I care about and are my views. I love to spark debate as long as it is done properly. That is the point of some of my posts. I will not tolerate disrespect. Personal attacks is not the way to change someone’s view on an issue. Don’t quote the Bible if you don’t live by it. You will be blocked!” I am an advocate for having conversations about difficult subjects with people of different view points. That is how change happens whether it is someone adjusting to my view, or me to theirs. But we as a society have to learn how to have conversations without resorting to personal attacks.
I have also been dealing with an issue with a family where the teenager has dug her heels in and is refusing to see reason because she does not want to be seen as weak in the eyes of her peers even though her safety is in jeopardy. Today it hit me that what we have witnessed over the past couple of days is a great testimony. There was an expectation that the inauguration attendance would be record breaking, but instead people showed their voice by not showing up. Now I know there is discrepancy about how many people were there, but pictures truly are worth a thousand words. The very next day women across the United States gathered and marched for women rights. So many so they have not been able to collect the numbers yet. The statement of silence the day before and peaceful protest the next day spoke volumes! And how fitting that this all occurred the week we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday!
Our challenge today is teaching youth that they can show more strength by using wisdom to deal with conflict. Many of the past conflicts I have dealt with have been shut down and resolved using silence, peaceful protest, kindness, love, and a smile. So I challenge us all to use wisdom in how we approach things and find a different way of responding to those who have views that are in conflict with out own.
Sorry no posts for a couple of weeks, but I have been so tied up with a new position. I have struggled over the last 36 hours trying to decide if I would make a statement about the Trayvon Martin verdict. I have watched, read, and listened to news outlets, friends, and family give their different opinions about the case. I will admit that I was not surprised by the verdict, but I am still sadden by it. I am urging like so many that no violence occur behind this. I urge people to find peaceful and appropriate ways of dealing with this. People are demanding change and I agree. There are a number of cases out there that are very similar to the Trayvon Martin case. I feel that there needs to be a deeper change in the way that our judicial system is currently run. I have listened to people discuss how they are going to move to another country as if that solves anything. Other countries are faced with oppression in some form. We need to deal with the issue, not run from it. What strikes me is some of these people making these claims are people who do not participate in our system. They refuse to vote, get involved in advocacy, and are the first ones to try to get out of jury duty. When will we stop complaining and start participating? When will we realize that in order to make change we have to participate and be consistent in our participation. Having two parents who grew up during the Civil Rights movement and took me to go vote with them for every election I was excited to sign up to vote when I turned 18. Since earning my undergraduate degree in policy studies I have a greater appreciation for how policies are created. Before voting, I make it a point to investigate all aspects of the ballot; not focusing only on the candidates, but also the referendums and policies. It is my hope that people not only participate in the protests for Trayvon Martin, but make it a point to fully participate in all other areas of our legal and government systems.
Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help advance the research for cures. You can access my fundraiser page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/sun/StPeteHf13/drshanwalks. Furthermore, I would like to invite family and friends to join me in St. Petersburg that day after the race to celebrate a survivor, my mother Shirley Dorsey-Davis. Feel free to contact me for more details.