Community and an Even Keel

It was bound to happen.

After an initial spate of projects, movements, and people dropped in my lap by the newness of my North Carolina experience and shared as blog posts, I’m appealing to YOU, dear reader, to send MORE my way!

It was also only a matter of time before one of our cities in NC became part of the growing national statistics on officer-involved shootings. Last week, as you know, Charlotte joined the ranks of cities where both shootings and protests grabbed headlines.

What’s more, last Tuesday evening in Hendersonville, I saw a diesel pickup drive into a convenience store parking lot with not one, but three flags flying in its bed: a Confederate one, a “Trump: Make America Great Again” one, and a third.

The Confederate one I’ve seen many times, and not just in North and South Carolina. There’s at least one guy, maybe more, in Longmont, Colorado, where I live when I’m not in NC, who flies his from the back of his pickup around town. And you may not know it, but Longmont had a very active KKK chapter as recently as the 1920s, with members on the City Council.

The Trump flag was new to me, although I wasn’t surprised to see one. What better way to have maximum exposure around town?

But the third is the one that nearly made me throw up: The Christian flag. And this is where it gets insidious. When I was looking for an image on Google to post here for those who don’t know what the Christian flag looks like, I learned white supremacists now fly this one as their national flag because they believe the Stars and Stripes has been co-opted by a socialist, anti-white, anti-Christian government.

“The crazies are out now,” I muttered aloud to myself in the car as I headed west. “It’s going to get worse as the election approaches.”

As a guest in this state, I feel constrained by my lack of local knowledge from getting all high and mighty about the re-emergence of racism in the South; it is, of course, all over the country now. My first wife, born and raised in Richmond, VA, reminded me more than once that the North was just as racist as the South; it just hid it better.

At the same time, I’ve recently found myself looking for community in a quest to keep my balance between barely-contained fear of what’s emerging, and strong, loving action on behalf of the cause of compassion, open-mindedness, and nonviolence.

So, HERE’s MY PLEA: I now have to be a better prospector for the nuggets of health and hope in my new state, so won’t you help me find them—real, live movements and people, local and statewide, where people are organizing for justice, equality, compassion, and faith-in-action for those without a voice?

Topics of upcoming posts I’m working on: Positive Youth Development in the Polk County Schools; Campaign for Southern Equality; Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries; C4C – Congregations for Children and Pastor Rob Parsons; and Mountain Moral Mondays.

Do YOU know of others? I need community to maintain an even keel!

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