Liz’s Note, May 2022 newsletter
Such tumultuous emotions this week …
I happen to live one block uphill from an elementary school, and every morning I hear the background noise of children arriving and entering the school building. On Wednesday morning I stood and intentionally listened to those sounds instead of leaving them in the background of a busy morning. After another unimaginable night for families, my heart continues to break for them, thinking of the thousands of times that I dropped off my sons at school, never fearing what could happen to them before the end of the day. Our children should be safe, allowed to live without fear of violence, especially in places meant to nurture them and help them grow. That is part of our obligation to them, and the people who surround them.
I spent time talking with partners this week about what targeted universalism is and how much setting the ‘universal goal’ matters, as opposed to identifying a universal strategy. I asked them to imagine how different it would be if our goal was to keep all children safe from violence and harm. Gun control and safety is one of many strategies but it is not the only needed strategy. We also have to think of all the elements that result in young people targeting other young people for death in such horrific ways. Young people are hurting, facing trauma and don’t have the needed support around them to make their way through alone.
I refuse to believe that we are powerless to make these circumstances change.
Two events come to mind for me – I joined many at Skagit Valley College last weekend for the Spring Powwow. In the wake of Buffalo and California, I was moved to tears watching four generations of dancers from one family as part of the Grand Entry in the afternoon, knowing that for too long, tribes were forbidden from practicing these traditions. Seeing young people as part of rebuilding these traditions is so impactful.
And on Wednesday evening I traveled to Shoreline to watch my grandson compete in a district track meet. I again found myself battling my own anxieties of having so many children gathered together, wondering whether some circumstance would put them in danger, and I felt I needed to be there, to make sure they do not feel alone. They are our future and worth every minute of our time to assure they have every opportunity to thrive.
I mentioned to one of my team that I remember the day when each of my boys began to understand that they could feel two conflicting emotions at the same time. Happiness and pain, fear and gratitude, hope and anxiety. That is where I am when each of these events rips through a community. I realize that while Buffalo and Uvalde seem far away from Northwest Washington, we had our own experience in Marysville not so long ago. Every community is just like ours, and what happens there happens to all of us too.
Hug your loved ones, and please wake up each day with a desire to change this world for the better, because we can do that work if we act together.