For most of my life, now over six decades long, I have been a strong proponent for a message ‘people are precious’. I mean all people regardless of age, sexual orientation, religion, race, profession, economic status, etc…basically beyond all of the usual ‘…isms’. I was taught, growing up, to ‘live and let live’. This was a good foundation. It was not enough for me. ‘Live and let live’ is a rather passive statement. Advocating for ‘people are precious’ is a more active statement, resonating better in me.
Recently also, I have been challenged on my viewpoint about ‘all lives matter’. It has been suggested to me that this is offensive to my African American colleagues and friends who are deeply involved with ‘Black Lives Matter’, a strong movement here in North America. I don’t wish to offend, nor do I wish to take away from any work on the planet that strives for greater unity.
Friends who have dropped by have been using the word ‘sides’ in relation to many current and controversial issues. People are probing one another to discover what ‘side’ they are on in relation to ‘black lives matter’, in relation to issues to do with the police, in relation to the bi-partisan politics that dominate people’s awareness these days. I have taken to getting quite annoyed about ‘sides’ and have started saying to people “I am tired of this rhetoric about sides, everywhere I go, people are aligning with sides”. For me, taking sides is divisive.
I stand by “All lives matter” even when people challenge me that these are the words of white privilege. I stand by my life long deeply held feelings of ‘people are precious’.
Taking sides is costly for all of us. Keeping our focus on collaboration, collective intelligence, keeping conversations going, and creating the space for our diversity as peoples creates value…in all organizations.
What is the last thing you remember doing that supported unity?