On this annual day of commemoration, I join many families that will pause to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. With each life lost, daughters, sons and grandchildren are left to bear the grief and the multigenerational and intergenerational trauma. My dad’s family were victims of Nazism in Poland, but fortunately he was spared the horror. As a young man, he fled to America which became his second home that provided life from the ashes. It is with honor and lasting love that I remember him.
The study and work on Diversity demands constant review because it is ever morphing. The “work” is always in progress being refined and amplified with new knowledge, high definition socio-cultural critical lenses and invaluable unearthed counterstories. Rereading and remembering is part of that process. Knowledge requires updating, going back to those watershed books, articles and illuminating poems that linger hovering over meaning – calling to be reread – rethought. One word – one phrase written long ago can unleash new meaning in the 21st Century. I was in my 20s when I first read Storni’s poems. At the time they spoke in a limited voice – the only one I could hear. Now, some 50 years later, Storni continues to teach awareness with an honesty and audacity that exposes modern day paternalism, sexism and toxic masculinity. There is no ambiguity in the verses she wrote on gender equity during a time of emerging “strong men” and authoritarianism. Among such forces and often standing alone among her peers, she had the courage to oppose machoism, chauvinism and the double standards suppressed on women. “Tú Me Quieres Blanca” (“You Who Want Me White”) is one of those poems that transcends time, reminding of the connections and intersectionalities of Diversity – then and now. That is what stellar writing should do . . . as Martin Espada reminds, “Poetry records a time like this for future generations who want to know about a time like this in terms of the five senses, and in terms of the soul.”
Is it humanly possible to ever truly empathize with another’s deep seeded sorrow and anguish? When does it become unbearable to try to explain, define or describe the depths and layers of brutal inhumanity? History is not void of its power to remind us of such ingrained agony – of open wounds still bleeding – of multigenerational and intergenerational trauma. Perhaps this is why some try desperately to erase the past, pretend that the barbarousness did not happen, deny the horror, desperately avoid any semblance of a connected ancestry. But there is no escape, no absolution, no greater conscious sadness knowing that the cataclysmic inhumanity throughout the ages was executed – engineered by choice, by design . . . leaving generations to ponder why . . . without answers . . . then and now. And so, as humans, we are left to validate truth, remain aware and cautious so that the children of tomorrow will never have to ask questions without answers . . . of savagery caused without a cause . . . of the heritage of forebearers exterminating, enslaving, making invisible . . . needlessly.
Veracity, authenticity, credibility and trust is alive and well in America! “When Otta.com, a job search platform, surveyed 25,000 workers asking what top qualities job seekers were looking for in their next job, the number one answer was diversity and inclusion along with transparency, respect, meaningful work, recognition and reward for a job well done.” Otta.com – The Feldman Report WWJ Radio, January 6, 2022
Republican Trumpism is the antithesis of what 21st Century corporations, schools and societies are experiencing and focused upon. That is – the future – looking forward – working toward a quality of life that is shared – continuing to define and authenticate truth, logic, reason, wisdom, emotional intelligence, moral courage, common sense, mutual respect, collaboration,consensus, compromise, opportunities of worth – all core values of a Democracy – of human beings – that happen to be workers, consumers and citizens.
As the clock stuck 12:01 on January 1, 2022, the phone lit up with wishes of, “Happy New Year!” For the first time, while grateful, I felt the words lacked substance and meaning. They felt tired, lazy, lacking life. Damn it, we are living through Covid 19 and Republican Trumpism viruses and all you can wish for is “be happy!?” No, no, no we need to do better, much better! Thus, I propose that we wish each other three basic sentiments with authenticity, meaning and motivation. Therefore, to each and everyone,
“I wish that in 2022 we remain in good health, human and sane!”
Yes, its a little long, but isn’t the person receiving the sentiment worth more than three words? Yes, I included myself in the wish. Hope you don’t mind as good will is a collaborative and mutual effort. By the way, don’t wait until Hallmark reminds to reach out to someone via a text, call, card, email, FaceTime, zoom . . . make the time to voice your feelings to someone who made a difference over years. Don’t wait until 12:01, January 1, 2023 . . . as the song goes, “If your heart is in them flowers, bring ’em on.”
“The history of inhumanity caused by socio – cultural – religious – political victimization, must be scrutinized in the raw to clearly understand, identify and expose its lingering legacy of multi-generational trauma in the 21st century. The sins of the past can be and should be acknowledged with veracity and owned, so as not to recycle the ongoing burdens of systemic racism, autocracy and domestic terrorism. That is the choice made by every generation – by every vote cast.”
I posit that on November 3, 2020 what will be on the ballot will not only be the name of candidates for President of the United States. But also on the ballot will be an opportunity to restore leadership, integrity, dignity and personal veracity. There is a hunger and thirst in America for leadership that is credible, trustworthy and takes responsibility for tough decisions. What is on the ballot will be ethics, empathy, emotional intelligence, moral courage and a connection with the human condition.
Jorge D.H. Prosperi
Find the latest essay: The Ballot of November 3, 2020: Beyond Candidates ~ Beyond Party here.
Take up the White Man’s burden— Ye dare not stoop to less— Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloak your weariness; By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do, The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your Gods and you.
A 2-part series of America struggling to get back to normal. Will America return without pausing to critically examine the normality of the past or seek a new vision and mission in the 21st Century?
This next series introduces two new poems and one new essay. Included in the links below are two companion essays previously published. A continued reminder of the pain, anguish, and suffering untold.
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit with the core belief.”
White America will not change its inherent inherited racist pathology until it does violence to its white racist soul and deals with the pain. Continue reading this essay…