One of the most fulfilling theater events I have attended this year was seeing Mitch Capel and Sonny Kelly in “The Colors of Courage.” Their ease with poetry and their strength of acting was magnificent. But the nearly overriding joy was being in the Sunrise in an audience more black than white. I was thrilled and said so.
I am thinking now, after these weeks of horrible loss on all sides, that being together fixes a lot of things.
Police need to know their neighborhoods and people. Our white and black communities need to come out and mix more. Nothing changes fear faster than laughing together over barbecue or pasta.
Breaking bread together is a time-honored thing in many families, be it on the Sabbath of Friday night or the Sabbath on Sunday. Maybe it is time to actively break bread over lunch with folks you may not know and of a different color.
It may be true that the men and women I was so very delighted to see at Mitch Capel’s performance don’ t readily feel welcome in all the places we so often go, or they would be there.
Our mutual human existence is shot through with threads of love, struggle, loss, bikes, bad DMV photos, potato salad recipes from our grandmothers. We should, as a community, reach for the things that bind us to move forward in a way that may not only tear down the invisible walls between our black and white communities. We might just serve as an example.
We can start reaching out and forming informal groups who merely have lunch together. No, we don’t need to discuss Trump and Clinton or even violence and loss. We can talk about “sweet or unsweet,” where we grew up, what we did for summers as kids. We can ask a policeman/ woman to join us in a group to swap tales and learn who we all are.
The South has not always been so welcoming. This we know, but this is now and this is us, and we can build a bridge to one another. To be sure, there may be folks on either side of this invisible wall who wish to stay there, bless their hearts. If fear and isolation is where you like to live, do so.
But if fellowship, change for the better and meeting good folks is your thing, let’s do this.
I’m actually reaching out to some friends and acquaintances. I hope to be able to let you know when a group of us will just have lunch, and I hope you will come.
Change is best made from the heart, person to person and in the sure knowledge that good will is the guiding principle. It is so easy to blame people, police or groups you do not know for problems that are complex and real. This occurs on each side of the racial divide. Spending time with folks, with the goal of making us the community that is the exception, not the rule, is worth doing. Heck — you make get a great recipe, a tip on something you always wanted to do or know.
For our men and women who serve us in the police departments, fire departments and civic departments, knowing whom you serve is always a plus. The citizens can learn about your lives, who you really are, where you come from. Sweet or unsweet?
Distance, fear and isolation breed discontent. Discontent can make us angry and easy prey for those who would turn us from being a community into being agents of bad acts. Once we diminish those elements, love and harmony can find their place at the table.
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.
Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry breath I take, let this be my solemn vow.
We should follow in Felton Capel and Voit Gilmore’s steps by being together. Two men who vowed to change things by going to the movies. Together. Maybe our name should be Capel/Gilmore Lunch Gathering.
This is not a movement or a political agenda. I just want to have lunch with folks I don’t know or don’t know well.
Being together in community is an act of defiance of the folks who believe we have more differences than similarities. I don’ t think that is true. Hope is greater.