Our Community Response to Current Events

It has been a hard couple of weeks in my country (the United States) and in the world.

A young adult Afghan American massacred fifty mostly Latinas and Latinos in a Gay nightclub in Florida (USA).

Then, at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, several attacks occurred in Turkey, Iraq, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia, killing hundreds. 

Meanwhile, one of the U.S. candidates for president is openly calling for a ban on Muslim immigration. 

In various U.S. cities, police killed more African-heritage men. Some of these killings were videoed, and the videos circulated widely.

At a protest against the killings of African-heritage men, in Dallas, Texas (USA), a young adult African-heritage U.S. Army veteran shot and killed five police officers and wounded others. Then police killed him with an explosive-armed robot.

In my Region, I have the job of coordinating “Rapid Response” gather-ins at which Community members can come together and discharge about world events. Consulting closely with my Regional Reference Person, Mary Ruth Gross, we try to quickly plan a gather-in when we think our Community needs a chance to discharge on some recent event in the world.

We held such a gather-in for LGBTQ people and allies a couple of days after the massacre in Florida. We were organizing another after the Ramadan bombings, when more police shootings of African-heritage men occurred, followed by the shooting of the police in Dallas and the killing of the shooter. So we updated our gather-in, inviting Community members to come together and discharge on any or all of these violent events. My Area Reference Person, Gail Mandella, led the exceptionally powerful evening on very short notice. About fourteen people attended, from all the nearby Areas in our Region.

Gail started by talking about violence early in our lives and how, if not discharged, early experiences of violence affect our current response to violence in the wide world. There were two demonstrations, followed by constituency groups meeting separately. I led the white Jews. Other groups were for People of the Global Majority and Indigenous people and for immigrants.

Then Gail talked about how the genocide of Native people and the enslavement of Africans were the context for much of the current violence. She talked about the history of the oppression of African-heritage people in the United States, about African-heritage men being “targeted for destruction,” and about the Black Lives Matter movement (a national movement to change the way U.S. police treat African-heritage people). This was followed by meetings of the same constituency groups as earlier.

Last, Gail spoke about the bombings during Ramadan and the increasing anti-Muslim oppression in the United States. She described how the Ramadan attacks, anti-Muslim oppression, and the U.S. role in wars in Western Asia, particularly Iraq, were connected. She then did a demonstration with a Muslim woman. This was followed by mini-sessions.

All in two hours!

As invariably happens with these Rapid Response gather-ins, I left lighter hearted, thinking more clearly, and more aware of my human connections.  

In these times we have each other, and a dependable method for assisting each other to handle the challenges that reality is placing before us.

How have you been responding in your RC Community to recent events?

Glen Hauer

Berkeley, California, USA

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion list for RC Community members

(Present Time 185, October 2016)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00