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Amid divisive voices, unity in community is refreshing

The power of gossip, fomented by populist media coverage and half-truths circulating on internet and through the email, left a trail of anti-Mexican immigrant and anti-Muslim hate that reached into my otherwise refreshing summer with grandchildren.

Now I’m back at work to mini vacations—relishing juicy, aromatic organic peaches from the farmers’ market and participating in Unity in the Community.  These are welcome diversions from my frustration when media bypass investigative reporting.   How about more focus on laws and loopholes, the local-to-global economic dynamics at play, and the human dimensions, rather than repeating unnewsworthy sound bites of political aspirants appealing to the lowest common denominator?

Actually, coverage is there for the discerning, but often lost in day-to-day banter that divides and misinforms.

This summer, I heard folks quoting pundits who are paid by corporate interests to keep the divisions going.  Divide and conquer is the adage at play.  If we are divided over misunderstandings, then we will argue about those while the folks in power grab even more power. 

Will we focus on the deficit and potential shortfall of Social Security being caused only by immigrants and the poor?  Or will we see the super wealthy’s cycle of paying politicians to help out with their campaigns and expecting payback they can use to continue the cycle of paying politicians to do their bidding and paying for election media ads that keep the dialogue short-sighted?

What a welcome relief it was to return to Spokane to Unity in the Community, celebrating our immigrants, our many faiths, our cultures, our races, our families and our community!  It’s like savoring the first peach of the season.

What wealth we have in our expanding racial and ethnic diversity!

The event is much more than sitting and being entertained by the songs, dances and music of varied cultures in the region.  It’s a chance to reconnect with others who care in the faith, nonprofit, business and government realms of this region. 

It’s a chance for each of us to tell our stories to the stream of folks who pass by our display booths.  It’s a chance to meet people and learn of their stories. We’ll pursue some we learned about in upcoming issues.

It was great to see media picking up on the event and giving it recognition as an asset in the community, a counterpoint to the negative human rights reputation the region gained because of a few people in earlier decades.

How can each of us be part of making Unity in the Community a “signature event” in Spokane, as organizer Ben Cabildo has proposed?  It will take more people and energy to build on the base in place.  What a thrill it would be to expand the celebration of the unity, the human rights efforts, challenges to hate and the rich mix of cultures in this region.As new groups form, may they collaborate with ones like Unity in the Community to strengthen common efforts of bringing people together in dialogue.

As we see new groups form and new leaders take the reins, we encourage them to take to learn about what is happening and what is working.  May they bring their new ideas and energy to build on the positive momentum of commitment to human rights, justice, equality, peace and vision already in place.

The Fig Tree will continue to provide that channel of connection, to remind people amid the flurry of negative, polarized, election-season positioning, that on the grassroots level, people continue to put their faith and values into action to faithfully plod on in bringing solutions to issues.  May we relish our area’s peaches.

Mary Stamp - Editor