Black and Brown: Break it Down!March 30, 2011 3 Comments
Last Wednesday, March 23, my colleague Melinda and I had the privilege of hosting a beautiful dialogue among a select group of Boston’s Black and Latino leaders. Following is the invitation that we sent:
We have all heard the news – the United States will be a “majority minority country” before the turn of the century. The historical significance of this demographic shift cannot be overstated – Americans are already contending with this emergent reality. Black and Latino people have been living side by side for a long time, there are many ways in which ours is shared experience, our histories are profoundly intertwined. We recognize strong alliances and cultural intersections and we also recognize old and new tensions.
We are not expecting that anyone will step in to either resolve our problems or maximize the potential of our unity – this is a task that is left to our own hands. We write to invite you to walk with us. Our vision is bold and our ambitions are large, but we are ready to start small – in dialogue, among friends, in the city where we live – a conversation among friends who care for freedom.
We designed a reflective conversation that was grounded in our individual stories. We intentionally stayed away from abstraction and ideological posturing. Participants brought their full selves forward, the conversation was authentic and courageous, we shared of ourselves and asked questions of each other.
It was important to have a diversity of experiences in the room, and the inter-generational perspective was particularly helpful. We share in the awareness that our unity is of great importance but it is not a foregone conclusion. We understand that we live under an economic system that has successfully managed to pit oppressed people against each other. There is a lot for us to contend with.
We talked about the trans formative power of music and other cultural forms. We lifted the importance of spirit among our people, the need to heal a rift across generations, the desire to break bread together. It is a time of great change in our country and if people are to stand strong together, then we must get to know each other.
From our city to the nation, from meeting rooms, to living rooms, to churches and public spaces – let’s build.