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After Election 2016: Bridging Divides with Love and Inclusivity

Election Day 2016

[caption id="attachment_967" align="alignright" width="200"]Kelly Litt Justice Promoter Kelly Litt[/caption] Today is finally the day! Election Day has come, and to the relief of many, will soon be over. While this has been a divisive and emotional election season, we still have a ways to go, and now we must work to unite our country once again. Recently, I attended a meeting with various faith and religious leaders from around central Ohio. This "Faithful Breakfast Club" meets monthly, and the meetings have evolved to address the concern of race in America. At our last meeting, representatives from the City of Columbus were present, including the Deputy Chief of Police, the Assistant Director of Public Safety, Director of the Department of Neighborhoods and staff from the Mayor's Office.

Hot-button Topics

Much of the conversation focused on community policing, implicit bias, use of force, and the opioid epidemic, all of which are issues that affect communities around the country. We appreciated this discussion of important issues, yet even in a room of faith leaders, the conversation got tense at times. These issues are more than "hot-button topics," they impact the lives of our community members, and with that comes an emotional urgency for both answers and change. After some heavy discussions, a Pastor from a local Christian Church made a comment that stuck with me. He explained that the way we are talking is in terms of "us" vs. "them." It is critical that we change the conversation to reflect "we."

Importance of Inclusion

Later that same day I had the opportunity to listen to Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK and the leader of Nuns on the Bus, speak in Cincinnati. Sr. Simone also mentioned the importance of inclusion. She explained that the shift from thinking as "we the people," to a more individualistic way of thinking and acting has pushed us as a nation toward the rise of individualism. This shift, many claim, is at the heart of what is tearing us apart, both within our communities and within our political system. Just as all social concerns and justice issues are interconnected, so too must we remain connected as communities to build each other up, break through unjust systems, and promote the common good of all. We must work together, loving one another as Jesus instructed us.
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. ~John 13:34

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