This week has been filled with deep sadness, grief, and fear about the innocent people suffering in the Middle East. Personally and professionally, I witness the intense devastation and hopelessness that people of all ages, races, and religions are experiencing right now– separately and together.
I am safe as a white person in Virginia; however, my family includes Jews and Muslims who are personally impacted by the persecution, phobia, and genocide occurring inside and outside of the US borders. My heart is breaking for the people that I love and I am scared.
As a psychologist, I know that one way to cope is by taking action. I can not control what is happening across the world; however, I can control how I show up in my relationships and with you all. And I know that being able to write this sentence means that I am safe and hold a significant amount of privilege.
My first call to action is to support the people I love that are personally impacted.
My second call to action is to empower folks with privilege experiencing deep empathy, anxiety, and grief right now to take action right here in our own community. Taking small and big steps can not only help us feel better, but it helps the people around us and makes the world a better place.
Action can take multiple forms:
- Reflect. Do I know people that are personally impacted? Why or why not?
- Learn. Read about the history of the conflict, about different religions.
- Talk. Share your reflections with the other folks with privilege around you. Hopefully you all can encourage each other to continue this process.
- Identify something you can do to be more inclusive. Put your phone down and talk to someone at the bus stop. Invite someone new to sit with you at lunch. Be a little friendlier at the park with your kids. Make sure you and your family enter spaces with a diverse membership.
- BE BRAVE AND ACT. Making any sort of change to reach out of your comfort zone is hard. So hard, in fact, that it entails continuously reflecting, learning, and identifying ways to act.
- Model and teach. Our children are also experiencing both anxiety and privilege. Help them by identifying ways they can act in THEIR community.
Many of us are scared about the war happening across the world… yet it is personally impacting millions of Americans right here. Use this fear, sadness, and grief as motivation to act in our communities. While we can’t control what is happening across the globe, we can all control how we show up, right here and right now.
Thank you all and so much love,