June 10, 2020
To our Community:
The ugly face of racism in America is once again on full display. While the world fights a pernicious virus that claims lives, we’re reminded of a longstanding social virus that also threatens our wellbeing by mistakenly claiming that some people are less human than others. This problem is every bit as potent and destructive as COVID-19.
Part of the mission of Monadnock Family Services is to advocate for a just society for everyone. The foundation for our mission is a strong set of values that cements all our words and actions together.
One of these values is the inherent dignity of every human being. Just about 75 years ago, the US and 49 other nations signed the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and expressed it eloquently: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This dignity of all members of the human family is “the foundation of freedom,
justice and peace in the world.”
Like others worldwide, Monadnock Family Services abhors the injustice and violence evident in the tragic death of George Floyd and countless others of our Black brothers and sisters in our human family who have suffered the indignity of hatred and prejudice for centuries. All of us have to confront historic faulty beliefs and social structures in our culture that privilege some groups and disparage others.
Racism is the direct opposite of the dignity that everyone deserves. It must not stand but it will take more than a vaccine to stop it. In the same way, racism’s frequent partner – violence – must be stopped too. Violence begets trauma and routinely causes mental illness.
The events touched off in Minneapolis and too many cities before it leave most of the nation with a broken heart. But, in the teaching of author and educator Parker Palmer, this can mean two different things.
On the one hand, our hearts can break apart, much like a teacup that slips from our hand and smashes to the floor in a shower of fragments too small to repair. The damage to our soul is irreparable and we are left with a hole too big to mend. For some, this breaking is an unhealable wound that sours them for years, causes them to retreat inside, and keeps them from growing.
On the other hand, the human heart can break open, much like the bud of a beautiful flower that unfolds its petals to reveal stunning colors and delicacy. In this way, the heart is open to something new, even in the midst of its pain. As a result, new possibilities are discovered and something better is added to the world. When the heart breaks open, despair and isolation are transformed into hope and community. We need that sort of medicine too.
Monadnock Family Services will work so that all hearts break open. In the face of racism, prejudice, stigma, violence, health inequities and other social ills, the mandate of our mission and the convictions that inform it compel us to help our tiny bit of the world to a better place. All of us are, in the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, inescapably “tied in a single garment of destiny.” We invite you to be a part of this now more than ever.
Phil Wyzik MA