By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director
George Floyd’s life, without qualification, had inherent value.
His death and subsequent events come after a long period of nationwide isolation. At this time, we should be re-uniting in solidarity to proclaim the sanctity of a man’s life, of every human life, but instead society seems to be fracturing into shards of disunity and destruction.
How can we reconcile and heal? How can we fix the ills that beset our society?
There are no easy answers. We have much soul-searching to do. But we must be willing to address the core of such unjustices.
Racism, and other –isms, such as sexism, ageism, and able-ism, are rooted in the same thing: a failure to fully and consciously recognize the inherent dignity that belongs to every person by virtue of being human.
In failing to recognize this fundamental dignity, we tend to objectify the other, seeing him as someone whose worth is based on what he can do, or looks like, or possesses, or knows, or some other arbitrary criteria, rather than the premise that a person has worth simply because he IS.
Someone once explained to me that “intimacy” means ‘into-me-see.” See the person. Truly see the person. In all his goodness and glory, with all his faults and imperfections. Peer through the surface, and see their unrepeatable value.
We must look into the eyes of a person of a different race or creed, the eyes of a person with autism or Down Syndrome, the eyes of an elderly person frail and dependent, and allow ourselves to see the treasure of that individual.
We must truly listen to and hear those with whom we differ, dialogue earnestly with those who disagree with us, and persistently strive to remain civil even to the uncivilized.
We must advocate for the vulnerable, marginalized person threatened and overpowered by those bigger and stronger.
We must regard the sanctity of every life, without qualification, as our first and foremost right, seeking to defend, protect, and honor every life from its natural beginning to its natural end.
Let us honor the life and memory of George Floyd by changing how we look at one another.
Let us gaze selflessly and intimately at the other to see the value within. Into-Me-See.