There has been much talk about how the events of September 11 changed everything. I don't think they changed the central urgency and relevance of what each one of us does with our life..
I think we're all being pressured by history. How many people have lost their jobs or are re-evaluating their work and lives? Those of us who are concerned about the issues of diversity, coexistence, reconciliation, conflict prevention, understanding and tolerance, peace and justice, will find our life gives us a firm ground to stand on. This is where the action is for the foreseeable and unforeseeable future. Clash of civilizations? War of the worlds? Global discord, intergroup ignorance, suspicion and fear. Many thoughtful people and institutions were studying and addressing those questions long before September 11.
Now the efficacy of tens of thousands of diversity awareness training sessions is put to the test. This is our performance review. What beneficial ...view middle of the document...
I can't think of an activity that is not affected. Groups may need us to convene and moderate the discussion, to provide guidelines for interaction, to be facilitators. We have numerous opportunities. We can speak about the interconnectedness of people and cultures. We can help to define patriotism in a new way. We can offer ourselves as resources in forums, classes, religious services, panels, talk shows, to provide alternative ways of thinking and acting. We can assist people to learn and teach about different cultures, religions, nationalities. What have you been doing?
In one fell swoop the importance of our work has been put into stark relief against the horizon. I hear about people who have just realized the truth of being a citizen of the world. Thinking people have been practicing this craft for many years. I think groups and institutions need us.
I think we need to help a new generation of people do this work. They are the September 11 generation, whose hearts and minds were opened or turned around in the wake of the airplane crashes. We should take on new volunteers, interns, trainees, and partners. We should reach out to colleagues across occupations, sectors, industries. We need more roundtable discussions, more sharing. I don't think there are trade secrets in the area of human community.
How can we call on each other? We're not organized to be cooperative or networked or linked in general, we don't have an alumni association, we're not exactly a movement with a phone tree of people to mobilize for action or support in a crisis. Maybe we should be.
The people who were killed, injured, and displaced September 11 were from more than 80 countries. They have many millions of family and friends. The shock waves will be felt for a long time.
There is plenty for us to do. People are newly mindful of the fragility of life. The suddenness of events. The value of relationships. The interdependencies of the world.
In the meantime, questions multiply too fast for my usual Q&A format. We need dreams and visions, ideas and music. Not every question has an answer, but it's important to keep asking questions anyway. They are the raw ingredients of our imagination.
We rely on each other, on our energy and courage and determination. Thank you for all you have been doing, are doing, will be doing. Keep in touch