I love my country. I was born in southern California but grew up (elementary school) in the Washington, D.C. area. I loved it! We were always spending time at the Mall…not the shopping one but the area between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument with the Lincoln memorial in there, too. I remember feeling connected to our nation in energetic but not quite tangible ways. I have such awesome memories of chasing pigeons, learning about our history, and feeling like I was part of it all. We were always attending shows at the National Gallery of Art, the Air & Space Museum (I thought it was Erin Space Museum!), and the other museums at our fingertips. I participated in the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. I was an extra in a movie filmed on the steps of the Supreme Courthouse. I learned how to use public transportation. We went to Jamestown and I realized how much I loved learning about history in a hands-on approach. My sister and I were in the Northern Virginia Patriots marching/parade ensemble. We spent the Fourth of July on the lawn of the Capitol watching fireworks at the Washington Monument with the national symphony accompanying the display. Like I said, it was AMAZING!
It wasn’t until I was a little bit older and moved around the country when I learned that what I experienced was unique. It was special and only a select part of the population had such opportunities. I was lucky. It took a little longer to understand how much this was part of my foundation. I have a deep love for things red, white, and blue. I’ve only been back to the D.C. area twice as an adult. I knew where I was once I got off the plane—there was something in the air. I had a visceral response to seeing the monuments again. I was reunited on a cellular level. I love this place on the planet.
This deep love for our nation’s history and monuments is one reason why perhaps I am struggling so much lately. The struggle I’m talking about is in regards to the tension between several populations in our culture and what our nation did to them. I stand on the side of human rights and so it’s a no-brainer for me to support the many populations who’ve been wronged. However, I have to unlearn basically all that I’ve learned. This isn’t an easy task, but I’m willing to put in the work in order to support people the best way I can.
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...
Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and
struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, a long time supporter of women’s rights and access to health care, a long time supporter for LGBTQ+ rights, and recently getting onboard with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the DAPL, in favor of gun sense legislation, and more. Yes, I am into social justice and using my authority as clergy when and how needed to promote it.
America will never be destroyed from the outside.
If we falter and lose our freedoms, will be because we destroyed ourselves.
When people say that because I am into social justice that I can’t love my country it hurts on many levels, but specifically because people don’t know my personal history and love for this nation. It is because I have such a deep connection and love for our nation that I am interested in holding it to a high standard. I want our country to be the best we can be and that cannot be possible if people aren’t willing to look at ugly parts of our nation’s history and the atrocities that have been committed on behalf of furthering our nation and its endeavors. If we aren’t willing to let go of the lies we’ve been taught in history class then we aren’t going to be able to progress forward. And let me be clear—we already are a great nation that has made amazing progress on so many levels. However, there are countless people who don’t have access to these opportunities and that’s why I am interested in helping things shift. We are already great and there is room for growth and improvement.
Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage