Broken Trust

It sometimes seems that those who have been the most marginalized in this country seem afraid to trust positive change, afraid to loose the little bit they have, afraid to believe in plans that could improve their housing, their communities, even their way of life.

But is it fair to expect those who have been intentionally prevented access to the wealth of one of the richest countries in the world, to suddenly trust people offering help without asking what is needed, people making promises when previous promises have been perverted, or people making plans for a community without including the community in the planning process?

“The Obama Foundation’s plans to build the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park have sparked a complicated, and at times emotional, conversation about race, class, segregation, privilege and power on the South Side.

The conversation has raised delicate and fragile issues: who gets a voice in the discussion, who gets heard, who gets action, and how the history of racial and class segregation shapes expectations.” ~ Lolly Bowean, Contact Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Inhale Agreement, Exhale Alienation…
Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Isolation…
Inhale Negotiation, Exhale Segregation…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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Bi-Racial

I have always understood that most black Americans have some European DNA but I recently read a study which reported essentially ALL black American descendants of enslaved Africans have European ancestry.

Hmmm … so, basically errbody.

That means whether the introduction of European genes in your black gene pool was limited to the rape of an enslaved ancestor by a white male (a frequent occurrence after the transatlantic slave trade was halted), or your DNA reflects a more recent and/or consensual ingress of white DNA…it’s in there.

And I think that is a good reason to dispense with the “blacker than thou” dismissal of our more obviously mixed race brothers and sisters who claim their blackness.

Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Unity, Exhale Division…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Renewal

Today I am grateful for the resurrection that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…

Inhale Faith, Exhale Hopelessness…
Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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American Experiment: Hypothesis Disproved?

“America is an idea” Bono.

America is a great idea. It’s an idea full of hope. It’s an idea that speaks freedom, shouts equality and invites peoples from all over the world to pursue happiness HERE…youshouldbeherebanner

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Of course, the truths espoused in the American Declaration of Independence have never been true for all Americans. America has never willingly extended unalienable rights to all its citizens unless they demanded them. For those segments of the population whose rights were initially and deliberately withheld, the 2016 election seems to be a repudiation of everything fought for, hard-earned…never given. Like many Americans, I’m left wondering if America can really ever achieve its promise

Social and cultural psychologists like Jonathan Haidt, one of the creators of the Moral Foundations Theory, would seem to suggest it’s going to be really difficult. In his widely read piece “What Makes People Vote Republican?” he describes a conservative mindset that sees in diversity a breakdown of social norms and feels a decrease in a sense of belonging to a shared community. Haidt suggests the more liberal among the population focus on those conservative concerns and adjust their rhetoric accordingly.

But if the conservative, predominately white part of the country sees diversity in negative terms, what does that mean for an increasingly diverse America? alt-right-protestersIn a generation, America will no longer have a majority white population. If the determined 25 percent of the country who voted for our 45th president, decided an unqualified candidate, one supported by American terrorist groups like the KKK and spouting fear and division, was the president we deserved, are we supposed to believe they won’t support the repeal of rights gained over the past 50 years? And if the 50 percent of the population who didn’t vote is tired of fighting, too cynical to believe their participation matters or too disengaged to understand the impact of their non-participation, will there be enough to prevent what may be coming?

In the long run, the only way the American Experiment will survive is if we all recognize the fragility of our Republic and work together to overcome the fragmentation that threatens to break it apart.

I pray it’s not too late.

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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