This week, I’ve been continuing to think a lot about separation. Whether it is the families that were cruelly separated at our border and have yet to be reunited. Or the political divide in our country, where the distance between our two parties has never seemed greater. And, as we work to complete The Great American Lie, I am submerged in the chasm between the haves and have-nots – the great social and economic divide that is making it harder than ever for Americans to see a path forward towards achieving what’s possible in life.
These separations seem daunting, overwhelming, and impossible to overcome. And yet all around us, I am also seeing the seeds of hope that we can come together – that we can bridge these social and economic divides.
At last night’s ESPY awards, 140 women who had been abused by Doctor Larry Nassar accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for their bravery in coming forward about the abuse they had suffered. The audience rose to their feet in a collective acknowledgment that never again could the sports world prioritize the reputation of a powerful man, over the safety of another human being. It was an incredibly powerful statement- and even more so in an industry dominated by men. Because it speaks to what is possible when we as a collective society say ‘no more’ to those who exploit and take advantage of our nation’s most vulnerable, whoever they may be.
It also speaks to the power of partnership. The #MeToo movement was perceived by some as a chasm — there were folks who saw it as a witch hunt against men, and others who questioned how men and women could ever relate to each other again. In actuality, it is an opportunity to redefine how men and women can relate to each other, with much healthier and safer and more positive outcomes for all of us. This is the beginning of collective healing.
So we must carry this work forward to bridge all perceived divides – between gender, race, class, ability, immigration status, religious preference and sexual orientation. This doesn’t mean pretending there isn’t pain or sweeping injustice under the rug. And it doesn’t mean sacrificing or compromising on our values – quite the opposite. It means taking responsibility for our collective humanity and then taking action together to create a brighter future for all.
So this week, I ask each of you to read the news for a story of hope and study it. Then I ask you to talk about what you learned with someone in your community, to begin to bridge the divide. Together, we can and we will change this world for the better.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom & The Representation Project Team