By Community Conversations
Our group, Community Conversations, began meeting in May of 2020, with a strong concern about mandates eventually coming out of this new Covid-19 medical emergency. We knew little of the emerging impact of this disease, but we could already feel the politicization and maneuvering surrounding it taking place. Though we were of differing political camps, we had a core desire for truth and freedom. The other primary reason we began meeting was to foster dialogue with others and to prevent the polarization and erosion of our community into strong political and philosophical divisions. Essentially our intent, then and now, is to cultivate respectful conversations that benefit our community.
We conducted surveys in June of 2020 and later in January, of local businesses and community members trying to assess how Covid-19 was impacting us in terms of socioeconomic health and welfare. We did our best to listen and assess what people were feeling and thinking about this new territory of “Medical Emergency”. We reported this information to the Board of Supervisors. We have also hosted several community forums hoping to foster communication and encourage education.
Here we are, nearly two years later in this ongoing “emergency”. There are now many points of view and even greater division among us. We are once again at a critical juncture. Can we set aside our divisive emotional responses and have thoughtful conversation? Can we take a moment to reflect where we are? How do we maintain our humanity during the unprecedented challenges we are facing today?
Challenges and crises are not unusual throughout history but most of us have never lived through a time like this. Our culture seems to be unraveling; our systems, our core values, our families, our governments, our entire way of life. Can we rise to the challenges without being defensive or injuring others? Can we listen to one another with open minds and hearts even when we strongly disagree?
If we asked each other what are the elements that make a healthy and vibrant community we might actually be more in agreement than not.
We suspect there are external forces at play keeping us deeply divided, keeping us distracted, fearful, reactionary, and therefore easy prey to accepting simple solutions for the complex problems we are facing.
Is the unprecedented censorship supporting our welfare, or is it keeping us divided and unwilling to look more deeply?
It is imperative to come together during difficult times. When a community, a nation or a family is threatened, unity, not division, is an important part of the solution. We take pride in our creativity and individuality yet we also crave the safety and nurture of closeness to one another. Maybe if we unplugged from the manipulated, toxic media, and spent time talking to each other face to face, we might just find our way back to community.
Regardless of how we choose to sort out what to believe or honor at this time, the hope of Community Conversations is to just make a connection each day, ask a question or two, and let go of needing to get to the answers too quickly. One thing we trust about humanity is the boundless ability to not only survive, but to truly thrive, laugh, and find joy in the smallest of pleasures.
Take time today to talk with another, and see what unfolds.