As are most Americans, I am glad this election is behind us. What is of concern, however is the residual effect of the division that has been left behind.
On Wednesday morning, my niece-in-law called me. She was sobbing. She is originally from the Philippines and most recently became a citizen of the US. She has two children, both elementary school age. She is terrified. She doesn’t know if she should now carry her passport with her everywhere she goes to prove she is a US Citizen. She agonizes about her children—they look different—what will happen to them?
When I consider this real fear…terror left behind because of this election, my heart breaks. For myself too, I wonder about what happens next… most specifically in our work—getting more women into leadership positions. Will our work continue to matter? There are so many places where it’s already a “check the box.” Does this mean that now even the box will be eliminated? Is there a possibility that we will move backwards? How will my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ Community be impacted? What about our Muslim brothers and sisters?
It’s too soon to answer any of these questions, and I would caution all of us to take care not to write the story ourselves. What I know for sure is that now, more than ever, we must stand up for those most particularly on the margins. We must not back down. We must continue to use our voices to create real and meaningful change.
I watched Hillary Clinton’s conciliatory speech. I was in awe of her strength, courage, and her encouragement of each of us not to quit. Listening to President Obama’s speech gave me hope. Three words rang over and over in my head…COMMIT TO KINDNESS.
In the moment, I believe this is the best we have—all of us, each of us, committing to kindness. What can each and every one of us do to bridge the divide in our country? While it may feel monumental, it begins with ONE and expands to WE.
I feel called to do something, although I’m not sure exactly what that something is! Perhaps it’s forming Commit to Kindness or Bridging the Divide Circles—safe places where each of us can focus on what we have in common rather than focusing on how we are different. If you have a thought about what this might look like, let me know. I’d love to have your insight.
In the meantime, I believe we must breathe in hope. We must trust enough in each other, working together, holding a knowingness that we can heal our nation. We must. Each one of us must commit to bridging something. It’s the only way we will be able move forward.