Every "ism" that has ever been uttered by man was brought home this week in a variety of ways. "Not in My Back Yard" has been at the forefront because of the discussion on where to build a 40 unit permanent supportive housing project by BWI, but many others reared their ugly heads in a variety of ways. Much talk about the documentary on the Central Park Five and the blatant bigotry involved in the case from the perception of young black men and “their wild night” to the institutional bigotry involved in the court and legal system concerning black men and women, or people of color period. Then a fuss on Facebook over a 7-year-old Honduran girl who died while seeking asylum. It was all quite exhausting emotionally especially since I spent the week training on Trauma Informed Care. So, intensive training, a little exhaustion, and bigotry. All in all, I am glad it is the end of that week.
We have to deal with the way we view others in this self-proclaimed Christian nation. It is not without merit to believe that a truly Christian nation believes in benevolence, acceptance, and is postured as a safe harbor.
Maybe at one time, but not in today’s world. Everybody agrees we have to do something to help the homeless, but nobody wants to do that in their neighborhood, therein lies the rub. If not there, where? What would Christ say? My property values will go down is a popular misnomer. Even in the meeting held at the City Hall, where the man from Indy spoke and said his neighborhood experienced just the opposite with an increase in the value of their property, he was booed and told to go home to Indy.
Make no mistake about it, I fully support the BWI project and at the Optimist Club location, but I was so weary the night of the hearing even I expressed doubt it would happen. That speaks more of us as a collective than we might want to admit.
I get that people have concerns, but history should mean something, and this company has had a positive impact on its surrounding communities historically. What outweighs all of it in my mind is humanity and the lack of it. As long as I have mine, I don’t care what happens. In America, it isn’t about "I," it is supposed to be about "We."
No sooner was I finished reeling from that experience when I read the most recent articles about the Central Park Five and the many years five innocent young men spent in prison primarily due to their race. The discussion continued all week. Our training was in Scottsburg, primarily a white community and the trainer was black. His honesty about feeling “observed” wasn’t missed on those of us in the room and it saddened many of us. A wonderfully educated, bright and giving young man felt like an unwelcome stranger and that was hard to hear. Not from the group he was training, but as he went about the community that evening with his wife. It wasn’t blatant, but it was obvious to him and he noticed it enough to share it with us. Then, as the week came to a close and I was reading my paper in a small restaurant as I drank coffee, a table with four people (probably about my dad’s age) were talking about how wonderful the current administration is and how much more tolerable it is than the last one. They actually verbalized that President Obama’s race made it impossible to lead us. They found him totally inept. I sat amazed and wearied by it.
A President who left us with very low unemployment rates, passed the only affordable health care act, was respected worldwide, lowered the deficit, created new jobs, and was not worthy because of his race? Unbelievable. I didn’t challenge them; I wanted to, but I realized it would have had little impact.
Then I open my FB and see where I am being challenged by someone because I found the death of a 7 year old deplorable and unacceptable. In a world that is pro-life I am confused. Pro what life? Christ would have said all life is important, even those seeking asylum. As a matter of fact, I believe He would have been at the border. I pray He is for all those needing comfort.
As a nation, we have a lot to question and a lot to answer. Our children need clear direction for the future; safety should be a top priority, but 288 school shootings are on record and we do nothing. Are those opposing choice advocating for stronger gun laws? Are they imploring their congressional delegates to support asylum and to stop separating families? Are they welcoming those who have nothing to share in the richness of their neighborhoods? The question should be: If not me, Lord, then who?
— Barbara Anderson, Jeffersonville, is executive director of Haven House Services Inc. Reach her by email firstname.lastname@example.org.