As we enter a new era of American politics, many of us are wondering what we can do to make a difference. I'm not much of a visual artist, or a speaker; and taking three young daughters to a rally won't be an option every time (though you can bet they'll be going to a few).
I can donate money to causes I support, and I will, but I've been wondering how I can make the world right in front of me more welcoming, more open, more comforting.
My friend - who was one of my best friends in high school and now lives in Chicago - designed a button that CTA riders can wear to let others know they will treat them with dignity and respect:
That lettering is the word "peace" in Arabic.
Meanwhile my mom has spent much of her life working for peace and justice, and has recently been focused on the idea of Peace Poles - which you can read all about here.
She even sent me a link to a guy who makes Audio Peace Poles. (She's very thoughtful!)
But what I can do that will make an impact?
What would make those around me - right in front of me - feel more welcome?
People of color?
Women in hijabs or others of the Islamic faith?
I can't answer all those questions, because I'm as white as they come, with both my grandfathers serving as Lutheran pastors their whole lives.
But if I was in a place or situation where I felt unwelcome or unsafe, hearing "Amazing Grace" would make me feel a lot better. It's not that I currently define my identity through Christian faith (I don't), it's just that - thanks to my white Protestant upbringing - that song resonates with me in a way that few others do.
Today I'm beginning a project to identify those songs or sounds that are quintessential for the many ethnic groups, cultures, religions, and identities that make up this country. From others just like me, to some of my friends whose answers I could probably guess, to strangers from faiths and worlds I know nothing about.
Would you help me by sharing this post, or commenting with a song or sound that gives you peace? That makes you feel welcome? That makes you feel safe?
I'm especially interested in hearing from people whose worlds I'm less familiar with - and some (like LGBTQ) that I know well through some of my friends, but can't put my finger on a sound or song that would be quintessentially comforting for the largest number of people.
All comments are welcome. Differences of opinion are welcome (and encouraged), but offensive or critical comments will be vigorously deleted.