By A. Rima Dael, Station Manager
I am introspective in the wake of the election. I am thinking of my students in my fundraising class, our team at WSHU, colleagues at SHU, and the country at large. How will we find our way forward?
Two quotes from Audre Lorde, civil rights activist & poet come to mind to help guide us forward.
“Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.”
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
So my thoughts…
Democracy is messy and we must continue to work at it. It is messy because of its inter-sectionality. We must embrace it.
Structural racism is ugly and needs to be confronted head on.
We must rebuild the infrastructure in our communities and restore norms around civility.
We must educate ourselves on how to be a good citizen in our country, a good neighbor in our communities and an ally to the oppressed and marginalized.
We must continue to advocate and educate for the belief in facts and science. And yes, I deeply believe that one can be a spiritual person or a person of faith and believe in facts and science.
So how will we do this work? We will do it together as citizens. How do I know this? I turn to Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.
“In the United States, as soon as several inhabitants have taken an opinion or an idea they wish to promote in society, they seek each other out and unite together once they have made contact. From that moment, they are no longer isolated but have become a power seen from afar whose activities serve as an example and whose words are heeded” (Tocqueville 1840, 599).
It is this idea posited by Tocqueville, that many of us who study philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, point to, as an example of how values of American philanthropy are uniquely expressed. How do we tackle issues of a social, civil and political nature? By forming voluntary associations, by contributing time and financial support to serve the common good and improve the quality of our lives in our communities. While we do look to our elected leaders to lead in our country, it is us — every day citizens — that have always pulled together to move this country forward.
And while I have great faith in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, we must reflect on what the great Martin Luther King Jr. said about philanthropy. “Philanthropy is commendable,” he wrote. “But it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” This was from his reflections and sermons that became his book Strength to Love. We must confront the economic injustices that continue to run rampant in our country and around the world.
As we are a public media outlet, I must close with a quote from Edward R. Murrow, “I simply cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument.”
As we strive to be anti-racist and create anti-racist organizations, we cannot wait for buy-in from everyone. This is work that must be done now. It isn’t about balance, it is about fairness. It isn’t about equality, it is about equity.
With all of the above ideas, this is how we’ll move forward in our communities, in our organizations and as a country. As we have always done, we will move forward together; joining together as ordinary citizens concerned about our communities.
I chose to remain hopeful and optimistic.