As we enter this week, we reflect on the Martin Luther King Day holiday. It is a day of celebrating civil rights and some of the advances we have made in our history. I have had the experience of traveling to Memphis, Tennessee several years ago and the city was still in racial recovery from his assassination and the distance that created between the races. This holiday is a day of service where people will be coming together to help communities.
Recently we witnessed a violent siege on Washington, D.C. where our Capitol was overtaken by rioters who threatened lives, appeared to be wanting to take prisoners and created an insurgence of our government. Although there were five deaths which was devastating to those families who lost loved ones, our nation’s leaders and their staff remained safe.
Now we are watching our National Guard prepare in major cities from every state for protesters who have threatened to demonstrate in similar ways to the Washington event. Our government is preparing with troops, weapons, vehicles, helicopters, etc. and already there are individuals who are attempting to enter areas that have been prohibited to them.
We will also begin a new administration with our newly elected President and Vice President with a new Cabinet and a newly elected Congress. There has not been a peaceful transition of power as of yet so that also has had some level of controversy. It is glaringly apparent that we are still a divided nation politically which has added to our current state of national dissonance.
All of this is happening in the shadow of Black Lives Matter, a movement that has been advocating for racial equity. This week there have been demonstrations to assert and call for an end to racial injustice.
We are constantly reminded that we are facing global pandemic that is approaching the loss of 400,000 lives and still seems to be raging. We are slowly beginning to vaccinate our most vulnerable. Yet there are so many consequences to us all that are causing emotional loss, struggles, economic disparity and a lot of anxiety.
I also think of those who are in great need like the individuals who are struggling with their trauma history, childhood diversity and even health issues. Since our systems have either been overwhelmed or completely shut-down there are so many who are dealing with difficult life circumstances with little support.
Any one of these issues can cause heightened anxiety and fear. It can be overwhelming to consider all of this in a week’s time. It can feel like we have lost so much and that some of the growth steps we have taken through decades of history has been challenged. It will be important that we continue to strive for some of the basic principles of our democracy and our Constitution. It feels like we have strayed from civility and need to commit to a society that is a true democracy where we understand the reality that we are all created equal where everyone should be respected.
I sincerely hope that this is a week where Americans stand for our democracy, our civility and our respect for every human being. I pray for safety for our leaders, our citizens and our institutions. I believe this is an important time in our history and am hopeful that this can be a transition week to a stronger and better country. However, it will take significant efforts for all of us to recover, heal and find those growth steps for a stronger American and a caring community. I believe we all need to work towards and pray for that reality during this very significant week.