Appreciation
Marisol Muñoz-Kiehne, PhD

[Appreciation- recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.]

Earlier articles took us from aspiration to intention, on the way to making an impact on true equity and justice. In the spirit of the holiday season, we pause in appreciation for the ‘good’ news, which are as real as those that tend to get more attention. If the setbacks reflected in news reports can dishearten, discourage, even deter or detain us, perhaps good news can fuel our hope and determination, our stubborn resolve to keep working, walking, talking, walking the talking.

In the precious, prosperous, privileged Valley of the Moon:

• The severe drought we’ve been experiencing has been alleviated by the coming of rain. Need more be said?
• The 2021 wildfire season is over, and our region was spared! This year we didn’t even have to deal with evacuations, PSPS or ‘bad’ air.
• The Covid infection rate is declining in this area, and most Oakmonters have not lost life, loved ones or livelihood to the pandemic. Around here, everyone who wants to get vaccinated has access to the vaccine.

Particularly relevant to progress in social and racial justice:

• Oakmont resident Tim Smith’s Nextdoor post proposing a ‘Listening Project’ discussion group comprised equally of people from both sides of the political spectrum elicited 470 comments in less than 3 weeks. Most responses communicated goodwill and a willingness to dialogue.
• Improved measures in the 2020 Census revealed that the USA population is much more multiracial. Racial diversity has been found to have numerous benefits across domains.
• There has been progress in the election of brilliant BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals for public office at many levels in various areas of the country.
• The number of interracial marriages as a proportion of all USA marriages has continued to increase since the 1960’s.
• Slavery, indentured servitude, human trafficking, hate crimes, and discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race and color are still illegal in the USA.

There’s far to go before we can bask in the glory of living in a world in which justice reigns and rules. And, progress has been made.

Though still far from goal,
we’re quite closer than we were
when started walking.

While we’re not done yet,
some is better than it was
when started working.

May we appreciate what is as is. May we act to create, recreate, rebuild, reform, transform what merits being otherwise.

May we begin and end every day and everything by giving thanks.
We give thanks.
For having fresh air, water, food, when so many go without.
For having enough health, strength, energy, when so many do without.
For having a home, a hug, a helping hand.
For the gift and grace of another day with life.

Are you thankful for progress towards racial equality and equity in society? Contact Oakmont Standing for Justice club leaders Kathie Weston & Robin Jurs (kathiew46@yahoo.com, robinjurs@gmail.com) to unite with us in education, dialogue and civic action.

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