I began with this work just after Ferguson, but I wasn’t focused on that spiritually yet. I knew of the struggle of the black community and I mourned with them. I even went to a vigil held in my city and spoke often to friends and colleagues in support of Black Lives Matter. I still do. None of that is credit to my name, but in fact highlights the debt that remains. Despite being new to this land, because of passing for white (until I speak with my accent), I have received many privileges in my life.
This work of connecting with and healing my ancestors is fraught with potential pitfalls. I will assume the same holds true for all of us. We’re a mixed bag in this country, and the work will often force us to stop and think, then alter course in favor of justice.
It wounds me, however, to have witnessed the hatred and slogans of the so-called “alt-right” rioters in Charlottesville, VA. I saw them waving the pagan symbols of our shared ancestry, taken completely out of context and twisting its meaning. I heard them shout, “Blood and Soil!” like ignorant Nazi youth in the 1930s and 1940s. They stood in total opposition to the spirit and intention of this work, seeking pain and destruction of lives rather than healing. They acted out their ancestral shadows and sins, rather than offer a chance for redemption and honor. They have, in fact, brought dishonor to themselves.
Chances are, the race riots of this decade will define it, but I hope it doesn’t put you off this work. Yes, we must acknowledge there are pitfalls and dangers to summoning up the “shades of the past” and offer them redemption. None of us are incorruptible, and this work may yet unbalance our perceptions of ourselves and what debts we owe to society. But that is the only way I know of to account of our privileges, and thereafter work to make the world a better place.
Chose to speak for the sins of our forefathers, however far back that goes, and you will get to decide how to heal the wounds of their legacy. Chose to stand bravely grounded in justice, so that the pain we each carry can be spoken for and healed.
Every moment we’re alive, we bear the promise of an Earthly Paradise.