Patriotism Week

All week I was super excited to share with you about a rite of passage I went through last week. I even started writing the post. And then, I attended the Canada Day festivities…

flags Canada USIt was a lovely day! Vendors, food, live music, all the weather (seriously – it was cool and overcast in the morning, then hot, then rain, then wind, then sun and wind), and, of course, fireworks to end the night.

I had a booth, and we did pretty well. It was lovely to see my community gathered in celebration.

Then I started thinking, here we are celebrating our nation, and there are people who can’t celebrate. People who are locked in cages for trying to escape the atrocities at home. People who have been separated from their families. People who had their homes stolen from them. People who fear for their lives because of the color of their skin.

And it is hard to feel patriotic knowing that the leaders of your own country are doing these things. This isn’t some history book, or a nation half way around the globe that you can pretend it isn’t happening. This is here. At home. In countries that are supposed to hold freedom as their highest values.

Yes, you read that right. Countries. Canada is not immune to prejudice and atrocity. We are a country that stole land from the First Nations people, not unlike our cousins to the south. We ripped First Nations children away from their families and sent them to residential schools, abused them, and didn’t let them see their parents or speak their language. And before you say, “But Mary, that’s in the past. The government has apologized!” The majority of children in foster care in Canada are First Nations. We may not be locking them away in residential schools any longer, but we are still taking children away from their families.

I read stories every day about the suffering that we inflict on others because of our differences, and I feel so small and insignificant. What can I do that will make any significant difference?

Then I remember that I am not alone. I don’t have to change the world all by myself. However, I can’t do nothing. Doing nothing empowers the hatred. I can make a difference with small actions. I can be kind to everyone. I can reach out and support people in my own community. I can honor the land, and the people who were here before me (there are three First Nations bands in my city). I can speak out in support of diversity. I can talk to my local representatives and request that they take action. I can support those on the front lines who are doing the even tougher work.

Keep acting. Keep loving. Keep raising the vibration. Remember, we are all one, and THAT is something to celebrate!