Saturday, 23 September 2023

Ravenwoode: Americans need to start listening

For years I have watched some Americans turn a deaf ear to other Americans.

The results are demonstrations in our streets and some cities on fire, as people protest racial inequality, police brutality, low wages, lack of economic opportunities and reduced funding for education.

As most Americans, I watched the video of George Floyd dying on the street in Minneapolis, handcuffed, with four police officers holding him down. I cried because of the racial injustice of it. But this went beyond a white police officer killing a black man. The scene reminded me of Nazi Germany, where soldiers without a conscience casually snuffed out the lives of millions of Jews, Catholics, blacks and homosexuals.

Regardless of race, the murder in Minneapolis was the brazen lack of compassion by one human being for another.

So where does America go from here? What would compassion in our country look like?

When a police officer takes a knee in unity with peace protesters, they are showing compassion, because they are listening. And those officers have my respect.

When our elected federal officials raise taxes on wealthy Americans to provide a living wage for underpaid government workers; to support our education system and combat pollution … they will finally be listening.

When our local government promotes economic development to provide good paying jobs and opportunities for our young people ... they will finally be listening.

When we care enough about health care for others, as we do about such care for ourselves…. we will finally be listening.

When young people, who anxiously observe, how we are “trashing” our oceans, with no plan to address it ... They know we are not listening. Because in order to survive and provide a living planet for their children, they must clean up what irresponsible older generations, so nonchalantly discard.

As young people inherit a warming planet complete with dying animals, they are angry and crying out for action … and who is listening?

When local education officials (school superintendents and school boards), teachers and classified staff ask for more funding for underpaid workers; when school districts ask to hire more teachers, counselors and school nurses to address the pain of school children who cannot learn due to hunger, medical problems and turmoil at home … we need to listen.

When high school students who want to go to college or a vocational school, to further their education and become responsible, financially secure adults, we need to help them attain their dreams with generous grants and low interest loans. Therefore, we need to listen.

When our local government finally makes it a priority to increase taxes a little, to help others obtain a living wage; and be responsible for public services they have not fully provided … We need to listen and engage to support those priorities.

When corporations and small businesses take pride in providing a living wage to their employees (even if it means increasing their prices to do so) then they will finally be listening.

Asking for a living wage is not socialism. It is not a threat to capitalism. It is simply a request for people to be able to pay their bills and raise their families without living in poverty. And if you cannot hear that message by now … then you are not listening.

My heart is breaking for the many years of pain, racial, economic and educational inequality in America that has brought us to … today.

As Americans, we are faced with a choice. Do we care more about helping other Americans out of poverty, or do we care more about saving money?

Do we continue to turn a blind eye and deny the racial and gender hardships that exist? Or do we engage in the difficult conversations needed to overcome it.

It is not a weakness to communicate with compassion. And we have a growing list of police officers taking a knee, to show us the way.

Anna Rose Ravenwoode is a life-long educator who lives in Kelseyville, California.

Upcoming Calendar

09.23.2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
California Coastal Cleanup Day
09.23.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lakeport Splash-In at Clear Lake
09.23.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
09.23.2023 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Passion Play fundraiser
09.24.2023 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Acme Foundation 25th anniversary celebration
09.26.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
09.27.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Town hall on homelessness
09.28.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

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